Having led his side to the UEFA Europa League final in his first season in charge, Peter Bosz tells UEFA.com about his coaching ethos and how he was influenced by the great Ajax teams of the 1970s and 1980s.
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Peter Bosz never played for Ajax, but their great sides of the 1970s and 1980s had a huge influence on the 53-year-old and he was determined to stick to their principles when he took charge of the club last summer. As he prepares to lead Ajax against Manchester United in Wednesday's UEFA Europa League final, he talked through his coaching ethos.
The Ajax sides of the 1970s and 1980s were a great influence on me. That was the time when Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff were at Ajax, and it was fantastic, very attractive football, which we all enjoyed watching. That really influenced the way I look at football now.
Cruyff had some very interesting thoughts about football and how it should be played; it has to be attractive, because you play for the fans, and that's exactly what I think. I want my team to take the initiative, I want them to be dominant, keep the pressure on, win the ball as quickly as they can; and when we have it, I want them to position themselves well, build up from the back and create a lot of opportunities, and of course, score a lot of goals.
This is my first year at Ajax. It took some time, but now I think we've got used to each other and you can see the team getting better – and of course the results too. We ended up second in the Dutch league, one point behind Feyenoord, but we're doing much better in Europe, because we're now in the final.
The players need to be fit, they need to be creative, and they shouldn't be scared to play. Combine all that and you turn into a team, and that's what we did.
In recent years we've not really played an important role internationally: no semi-finals, no finals, never mind winning a European trophy. So the success Ajax are having now means the whole of the Netherlands is behind us. We are happy to be playing in a European final again after so many years. PSV and Feyenoord have played in European finals more recently, so we're happy to be back at that level.
People will know now that Ajax are still an important club, that Ajax have a lot of good, young players, and that Ajax are still very good at training those young talented players. And that we play the way we used to do in the 1970s, and later in the 1990s.