Van Basten wants to win trophies as Ajax coach
6 March 2008
AMSTERDAM – Marco van Basten said on Wednesday he wants to win trophies with Ajax Amsterdam as the team’s next head coach.
"We have a contract for four seasons. That gives us time and space, but we also want to achieve something right away. We want to win trophies, compete for the championship. That’s what Ajax are supposed to do," he said at the official presentation.
Van Basten will step down as Dutch national team coach after Euro 2008 and then take over the club he played for in the 1980s, scoring the sole goal in the 1987 European Cup Winners’ Cup final against East Germany’s Lok Leipzig.
Van Basten said he hopes the club will splash out money on new quality players and at the same time hope to keep stars such as John Heitinga and Klaas Jan Huntelaar.
Many stars, including Van Basten, left Ajax during their career for the more wealthy clubs and lucrative leagues of England, Italy and Spain.
Ajax are one of only four clubs to have lifted all three European trophies, but have been on the slide in recent years. The last continental success was the 1995 Champions League crown and Ajax have won just two Dutch league titles in the past eight years, the last one in 2004.
"The focus is on the national title, but if we can stay in Europe after the winter, we are on the right track," Van Basten said.
Ajax is undergoing a big overhaul with Van Basten and the other new coaching staff members John van’t Schip and Rob Witschge. In addition, the most famous Ajax and Dutch player, Johan Cruyff, is to join the club as technical director.
But for now all that counts is the weekend league match against frontrunners PSV Eindhoven. If Ajax win they can halve a six-point deficit and would have a realistic title chance again – which is important for the future as well.
"If Ajax defeat PSV, they are back in the championship race. That is very important, also for us as new coaches. Then you play Champions League and it will be more attractive to play for Ajax or to stay at Ajax," said Van Basten.
[Copyright dpa 2008]