MILAN - Ajax Amsterdam caretaker coach
Frank de Boer, complete with trademark coat and dugout stance,
looked the real deal in Wednesday's 2-0 Champions League win at
AC Milan and is keen to take the role permanently.
The confident victory in his first game in charge made sure
of Ajax's Europa League berth next year, even if Auxerre's
defeat at Group G winners Real Madrid made the San Siro result
irrelevant with the Dutch side finishing third in any case.
Demy de Zeeuw rifled home from the edge of the box after 57
minutes before Toby Alderweireld smashed in a beauty on 66
minutes as Ajax quickly forgot Martin Jol's surprise resignation
as coach on Monday.
"We really demonstrated the courage to try things. We showed
the philosophy of Ajax, building from the back. It's a positive
thing, we were a real team," De Boer, caretaker until the Dutch
league's winter break, told a news conference.
"Yes if it's possible I would like the permanent job, but
it's not me that decides, it's results and the directors. I will
put all my energy into to it and we'll see."
De Boer, a cultured midfielder with the Netherlands, Ajax
and Barcelona, is also assistant manager to the Dutch national
side and the experience picked up en route to July's World Cup
final has rubbed off well.
"Football is simple. The players followed the instructions I
gave them," he added.
Milan were already certain of finishing second and going
through to February's Champions League 16 and coach Massimiliano
Allegri was not too down about his side's lacklustre performance
given he rotated his squad.
"They had a lot more motivation," he said. "Definitely if we
had had the obligation to get a result tonight we would have
done. Tonight can be looked at apart. But I'm sorry, it's a
Champions League game and we always want to do well."
The coach, whose side are riding high at the top of Serie A
in contrast to their shaky form in Europe, rested top scorer
Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the first hour and gave the out-of-favour
Ronaldinho his first start in eight matches.
The Brazilian put in an average display which will reinforce
rumours the former world player of the year could leave Milan in
January now his powers are fading and he is no longer a fixture
in the starting lineup.
The positive impact Ibrahimovic made when the Swede was
introduced on the hour will also strengthen accusations that
Milan are little more than a one-man team with fellow striker
Alexandre Pato injured and Filippo Inzaghi out for the season.
"At the moment the most important thing is to get Pato back
in early January," Allegri added.
"If there is the possibility to bring in another forward, I
think the club is willing."
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