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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 'Je kan alleen je dromen najagen' | De voorbeelden en inspirators van Erik ten Hag

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Besides your own ideas...

...ideas on football, your way of training and interacting with people...

...the people you work with or encounter...

...or situations, these things shape you as a human being and as a coach.

You're a coach, of course, but you're a human being first.

This journey starts with Marc.

Thanks to him I'm here.

And my first job as head coach at Go Ahead Eagles started with him too.

He appointed me, together with the chairman. I called him the president.

We were quite successful. Too bad he left so soon.

But he laid the foundation and Go Ahead Eagles was promoted to the Eredivisie.

That's where our connection started. And we have very strong ties.

We work together very well.

Which brings me to the next one. Go Ahead Eagles was short of money.

And the budget was set in stone.

But I insisted on getting Quincy Promes and he was worth every penny.

I don't find him difficult. But he's...

He's an emotional guy. And I know how to deal with him.

We have a connection.

And that's the most important thing, connecting with each other.

I know how to deal with him and how to get the best out of him.

He turned into a big player, who achieved a lot.

That's a beautiful thing.

I never chased things, but I try to do my best when I do something.

I've gained a lot of experience.

By cooperating with people, during events and situations.

Besides your own character, that shapes you as a coach.

Fred Rutten. He's my mentor.

First as a player and later on as a coach.

He was my coach at FC Twente and after that I became his assistant.

We worked together for years and became good friends.

That means the world to me.

He shaped me as a player, but also as a coach.

We have similar personalities. He's a bit more introverted and cautious.

I'm a bit more extroverted and outgoing.

But we get along great.

This is a good one.

Steve was the coach under Alex Ferguson...

...when Manchester United won the Champions League.

With that goal, or goals, rather, in the dying seconds of the match.

Steve and I visited Alex Ferguson when we played Manchester City.

On the morning before the match we had coffee with him.

A memorable conversation. - What was it about?

Football, of course. We had just played Celtic in the Champions League.

We talked about the previous match.

Alex Ferguson was sitting in his office.

He was the manager and he had an overview of the pitches...

...and he could follow the training sessions from his office.

I don't believe in plotting a course.

That's impossible in football.

But what you can do is pursue your dreams and believe in them.

Eventually, that leads somewhere and it has been very successful for me.

Many people didn't understand this decision. We had just won promotion.

But I chose to work with the youngsters. Die Amateure, as they say in Germany.

From the Eredivisie I went back three tiers.

That doesn't seem like a logical step.

I used to be an assistant for years.

And I stepped back to train a youth team.

But I chose to work with Pep Guardiola, Matthias Sammer and Bayern Munich.

I wanted to experience that.

I have no regrets because I learned so much.

It made me a much better coach by being part of that organisation...

...and keeping my head above water.

I love Hakim's smile.

I love to see him smile. To see him enjoy himself.

He has such love for the game.

He wants to do things in style.

But now, he's combining beauty and winning.

That makes me very happy. Especially with his charisma.

That means a lot to me.

I call him the wizard. And he can paint with his left foot.

But that's just one of his qualities.

People don't realise how much he does for the team. He's so empathic.

He's a great character.

Hakim is very straightforward and honest. So am I, and I like that.

What you see is what you get with Hakim.

Hakim isn't the easiest player. But neither is Quincy, as you said.

But it's a challenge to manage these players.

To motivate them to be the best version of themselves.

And to get them to play to their strengths.

I love the challenge to try and bring him to the next level.

I've had ups and downs too. But I have the support of my family.

I have that steady base and that's so important.

My wife, my three children.

I can be myself when I'm with them.

They support me no matter what.

They are so committed to what I do.

That's a wonderful feeling.

To have that.

To have people around you who support you all the way, through thick and thin.

We're a close-knit family.

Even though I live here and they live in the East, usually...

That's not always easy as a family.

You miss out on a lot.

In that regard, being a football coach is not a social profession.

Even when you live at home, because we've experienced that too.

It just consumes your time and the family often has to adjust.

They have to make a lot of concessions...

...to Dad or the husband.

That's a given. And it's not easy.

But it's fantastic to have their love and to have this relationship.

Epi? That's way back when.

Epi Drost was my hero when I was a little boy.

When I was in the stands at FC Twente. He had number 20 and so did I later on.

Because of him.

You could always count on him.

A very talented player. But with a lot of risk in his game from behind.

He could have played at Ajax.

He became my coach too.

Even though I didn't play in the youth team, he got me to the second team.

He said that young players should play. You can't park them on the bench.

I didn't get off the bench, but Epi let me play in the second team.

He saved my career.

I even shared his boots. Same size.

On Saturday I could borrow his boots. I wore his boots on match days.

Epi had a great kick.

He got FC Twente to win their first major title, the KNVB Cup.

It was in Nijmegen. From thirty yards he drilled it right in the top corner.

Your family is very important, but you also have parents.

It all started with them, and I cherish the fact that I still have them.

They're two of my biggest fans, of course.

And I've learned so much from them.

When I think about that, it's too much to mention.

So many lessons, with regard to tenacity, perseverance...

...patience and loyalty.

That's what I've learned from my parents.

I really appreciate that, and it's part of what made me who I am today.

Guardiola also wants to win, but it has to be done in style.

With good, attacking football.

I think he mainly got this from Cruyff.

I know he did, because he told me...

...that he was shaped, first as a player and later as a coach, by Johan Cruyff.

I've adopted some aspects of this: the way he tells his team to play...

...and always thinks differently, always attacking.

These three men have had the most positive influence on Ajax, if you ask me.

At Ajax, the coach didn't have his own room.

It's not that I have to have my own room...

...but if you want to have conversations, it's a nice facility.

I quickly created it, and then you need something on the wall, of course.

This ended up being a tactics board...

...and I had the core values of Ajax put up on the wall, plus three photos.

And the photos I chose symbolise Ajax to me.

Michels brought professionalism to Ajax.

Besides influencing the team, he also established a culture here.

You should give him that credit.

As a coach, Cruyff mainly stood for attractive football.

And innovative. That was Johan Cruyff.

I think he was the first to work with the so-called American model.

He was at the top and he used specialists.

And the football they played was groundbreaking, I think.

And then there's Van Gaal.

With him, I can clearly see and recognise how his teams play.

He combines this with an incredible conviction and faith among his teams.

He also plays very attractive football, and in that sense he's an example to me.

Here he is, holding Old Big Ears, which we would have loved to win.

Around the time of Louis van Gaal's feat, a lot of people in Dutch football said:

It's impossible they'll ever win such a prize again.

But he always insisted that it's still possible.

And last year, we could see that it's really possible.

I have a lot of influence on Ajax, because I'm ultimately responsible...

...for how Ajax plays, and for the results.

These have to be good. Ajax stands for winning.

But we should also play with the right style, which is the attractive style.

You feel that every day, because these people brought that to the club.

Do you ever feel that you could have achieved such a unique feat as a coach?

No, I'm too sober-minded for that.

You just do all you can. So when I fail, I know I did all I could and I move on.

This was in 2001, when Enschede went crazy.

It was the second big prize for the club, so that was extraordinary.

It was also special because it was a year after the fireworks disaster.

Yes, the fireworks disaster created quite a stir.

The next day, we had to play against Feyenoord.

And it was the last match, so it had to take place.

But a whole neighbourhood had been wiped out, and we were there.

So we couldn't play. Our minds weren't with the game, but we were forced to play.

So when we returned to the same pitch a year later, for the cup...

...it evoked a lot of emotions in the city.

We had to win this prize for those people.

So when you succeed, it feels great.

I remember this very well. It was in Madrid, after the match.

I value these moments more than winning the title.

Because it says something about your mutual bond.

That's more important to me than any title.

Even though I do play for the titles. That's what it's all about.

But the connection you build with people is much more important than any title.

A complete disillusionment.

I really felt bad for the players at the time, that this had to happen to us.

But at the same time, I think that everything has to go your way.

But at that moment, things didn't go our way.

Mainly due to David Neres getting injured two, three days before the match.

We still tried, but there wasn't enough time.

Then you're leading by 2-0 at half-time, and you're so close.

So it's a huge disillusionment when it ends this way.

And undeservedly so, but in football it's not always about justice.

A lot of fans can't bear to see that moment again. Have you watched it?

No. Maybe I want to repress it.

But besides that, I'm incredibly proud of these players.

I see Matthijs, Daley, Nous, Nico and Joël in this picture.

But I also think of Frenkie, Hakim and Dušan. For those guys it was horrible.

They were so close. It would have been such a huge stunt.

And they deserved it, because they played great.

But for things to end this way, that was very regrettable.

This is the second half we all talk about, but during the second half in London...

...we could have finished it, when Neres hit the post.

A missed chance and a crying shame. And move on.

But in the end, we did have something to celebrate.

I think I was mainly proud here, of my staff and my players...

...for achieving this.

You yourself have also become an example who inspires people.

People look back and say: Ten Hag's Ajax has brought me so much.

How does that feel?

To be honest, I haven't really thought about that yet.

Because, as I already told you, I think in terms of performance and improvement.

My motto is: Good isn't good enough. We have to do better.

So I spend my energy on improving myself and the people around me.

I need all my energy for that.

So I don't have time to think about these kinds of statements...

...that don't do me any good, as they won't make my team play any better.

But what I can say, is that I'm mainly happy to work with these people.

It makes me happy to be on the pitch with these players.

I'm happy to work with players like Tadić...

...who's a professional, and with Onana, Blind and our Argentinians.

And with all the amazing talent here, because we have a lot.

To work with them, build a team with them...

...and play winning and attractive football with them and the staff...

...and there are many I forgot, but that's a joy to me.

And in the end, you try to focus on that, and it takes up all my time...

...to do it well and influence it the right way.

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