In Schroder’s Thoughts, AjaxDaily writer Lukas Schroder reviews the last week from the perspective of a somewhat cynical Ajax-fan. New pieces will come out every wednesday.
Life can change. One week, you play two amazing matches, score ten goals and everybody’s happy. The other week, you play two fairly boring games against Eyong Enoh and FC Utrecht. However, I’m not that distressed about it. In fact, it gives me the opportunity to talk about something that has been bothering me for quite some time now. And no, it’s not that Yassin Ayoub changes into Sergio Busquets two times every year (both against Ajax). No, this is a matter of maturity.
First of all, I know we didn’t play amazing. Against Standard Liège, we had a decent first half but almost ruined it in the second act. Against Utrecht, it was exactly the other way around. While the first half was absolutely terrible, the second was pretty decent. But this article isn’t about analyzing the game, I have far too little knowledge for that kind of stuff. What really bothers me, is the way everyone freaks out.
I know, Ajax has that great philosophy no-one ever shuts up about, but the enormous backlash to games like these is unbelievable. Pundits and newspapers are unbelievably critical of us, even though we don’t have a better squad than PSV or Feyenoord, on the contrary even. However, if PSV or Feyenoord get two scrappy wins in a week, one of them against one of their most feared opponents, everybody goes mental.
The most uttered word in those situations is ‘maturity’. Because god, PSV and Feyenoord play so unbelievably mature in these games. If Ajax do exactly the same, we all crawl over each other to complain about the effort it took voor the Ajacieden to get the game over the line. And well, it shouldn’t be like this if you ask me. The concept of ‘mature’ football is an easy way out if you played like crap but still managed to win.
Let’s use an example. When Ajax plays 3-4-3 against PAOK in Greece, the idea gets slaughtered by pundits before a ball has been kicked. Eventually, we managed to get a win, even though we played absolutely terrible. However, last Wednesday, PSV played in a 5-3-2-system away at Rostov. And I swear to god, the amount of times I heard the words ‘mature’ and ‘realistic’ were off the charts. Apparently, the reigning champions are allowed to adapt to their opponents, but when Ajax does it, all hell breaks lose.
That should NOT be the case.
So, if I had a say in it (and we all know I should have), we go to a two-word system for the media to describe victories of the Traditional Dutch Top-Three. When the game is won with ease and dominant football, the Dutch media may use superlatives. Please, go ahead. It’s probably deserved. However, when the victory is scrappy and didn’t result from fun, attacking football, we shall use the only word that’s appropriate in this case: ‘cowardly’. Then, we can finally debunk the myth that Ajax always sucks, and our two rivals are super-realistic and intelligent. And no, I’m not bitter. Not more than usual at least.