The Dutch Eredivisie winter break ends with a Wednesday night programme of rescheduled fixtures – including an intriguing game between AFC Ajax and Feyenoord originally scheduled for 17 December.
For fourth-placed Ajax the match against the team in 13th is a chance to close the gap on leaders PSV Eindhoven – not in action – to three points and hopes are high after former youth coach Frank de Boer did enough in his month as caretaker, following Martin Jol's departure, to earn a full-time appointment. With De Boer on the bench, the intention is to return to the trademark Ajax style of attacking football involving all-out wingers.
"The team is now 60% of the way to playing the Ajax football I am looking to introduce," De Boer said. "I think it will take about two months before I really can sit calmly on the bench."
As caretaker, De Boer managed three straight wins including the 2-0 victory at AC Milan that ensured Ajax earned a transfer from the UEFA Champions League to the UEFA Europa League, and a 1-0 defeat of AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Cup. "The players are really showing that they believe in the current way of working," the 40-year-old added.
"We are all going towards one goal together. There is huge enthusiasm and passion, and that can only intensify if the players see positive results. They get stronger and their positional play improves every day. You do not win easily at AC Milan and at home to AZ Alkmaar. If we can handle the direction we have chosen in the right way, I think we should go for the championship."
PSV, who lost Ibrahim Afellay to FC Barcelona during the winter recess, could have their lead cut to one point if champions FC Twente – having signed Milan defender Oguchi Onyewu – win their derby with Heracles Almelo. On Sunday PSV resume their campaign against VVV-Venlo.
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