Steijn explains the choice for Akpom: 'He didn't look bad in training'

Maurice Steijn acknowledges that he is still searching for the right player for the right-wing position at Ajax. Chuba Akpom didn't perform well in Sunday's away match against FC Twente (3-1).

Steijn explains the choice for Akpom: 'He didn't look bad in training'
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After the departure of Mohammed Kudus to West Ham United, Steijn chose to play Akpom on the right side in the first match after the international break, but the top scorer of the Championship last season (28 goals) was hardly involved in the game. 'We practiced that during the week, and it didn't look bad,' explained Steijn his choice for the English forward during the press conference.

'I'm still searching on that right side because I want Berghuis to play in the number 10 role to get the football in the team,' Steijn continued. 'You saw that today as well. As soon as he started getting involved with the team and in the game, we started playing. So, that's not the discussion for me. We had hoped that it would work better today with Akpom, who was supposed to play as a sort of second striker. But he didn't get involved enough.'

There are more things that Ajax needs to work on, even though the season is already in full swing. 'You are constantly working together to develop automatisms as quickly as possible and to make things clear. We have only had the entire group together for two days, and we all know that. That's why I can explain a lot of things. But what I find difficult to explain is the naivety and lack of sharpness at the beginning of the first and second halves.'


Steijn doesn't despair and sees potential in the squad he has at his disposal. 'We can definitely make it work, but today we had a very poor performance. We came here with a good feeling because we had two excellent training days. What we need to work on the most with this team is winning duels and fighting for each other. Once that foundation is there, the rest should follow quickly, that's clear.'

The coach clings to the team spirit he has seen in training and the collaboration with his staff and players. 'But if no one marks their man, and no one takes the lead, it becomes difficult. You hope that leadership comes from the back, but even in that aspect, it's still a very young team. Sutalo is a Croatia international, but he's only 23. Hato is 17, Tahirovic is 20. But they will have to do better, that's for sure.'