Pitch at Johan Cruyff Arena in ‘very good condition’ insists Ajax boss Erik ten Hag despite 40,000 festival goers descending days before Chelsea clash
- David Guetta and Armin van Buuren were among acts to perform in stadium
- 40,000 people went to Johan Cruyff Arena, which had temporary flooring
- Erik ten Hag believes the surface will hold up when Chelsea visit on Wednesday
- Manager is also confident of more Champions League success this season
Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has allayed fears over the Johan Cruyff Arena pitch after Ajax’s stadium was taken over for a music festival just days before this week’s Champions League clash with Chelsea.
Frank Lampard’s side continue their European campaign in Holland on Wednesday night, four days after thousands of electronic music lovers invaded the pitch to listen to the likes of David Guetta and Armin van Buuren until the early hours of Sunday morning.
More than 40,000 festival goers attended the Amsterdam Music Festival, with temporary flooring laid over the grass for this year’s edition.
Erik ten Hag believes the pitch at Johan Cruyff Arena looks in good condition for Wednesday
40,000 people attended the Amsterdam Music Festival days before the Chelsea game
Ajax’s players trained on the pitch on Tuesday afternoon and Ten Hag was confident the surface would not cause a problem come kick off on Wednesday.
‘It looks very good and in my opinion it’s fine to play,’ he said.
The Ajax boss also insists his side must forget their journey to the semi-finals of last season’s competition.
Ten Hag’s young side shocked the likes of Juventus and Real Madrid en route to the last four.
They lost key players Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt over the summer but have rebuilt and continued their fine form at home and abroad.
Hakin Ziyech (centre) and Co are preparing for the visit of Chelsea in the Champions League
Ajax had a brilliant journey to the semi-finals last season but must forget that, says ten Hag
They lead the Dutch top flight and are on course for the Champions League knockout stages, having won both of their matches so far.
But the boss insisted: ‘Last season was last season. We have to forget that because we live in the future, we live for now and we have to perform and this team is a different team, it’s a little bit different also in the tactics but that’s normal because you lose players and the players you get in are different types.
‘Every player has his own identity, we are playing a little differently but I think we’re still a strong team and I believe it’s a strong team, I believe it can develop and be again very successful.’
Nevertheless, Ten Hag rejected the idea his side are favourites for Wednesday’s match and sees similarities between his side and Lampard’s young team.
‘When I see them and their football philosophy. They want to play football, want to play in the opponents’ half and they want to press high and stay in the opponents’ half which is pretty similar to Ajax.’
The Ajax manager dismissed the idea that his side would be favourites to beat Chelsea