Ajax have endured their worst-ever start to an Eredivisie campaign, having won just one of their opening eight matches under the management of Maurice Steijn. Now, with John Van ‘t Schip in the dugout, the Amsterdammers appear to be on the up. Ajax have claimed back-to-back league victories following Sunday’s 4-1 win over Heerenveen.
One man in particular who is finally finding form is Chuba Akpom. The 28-year-old joined Ajax from Middlesbrough during the summer for a fee of over £10m. On Sunday, Chuba Akpom scored a brace to seal his side’s win over Heerenveen and take his total tally for the season up to three goals.
Speaking to the media after the match, Akpom revealed just how tough he found his first two months in Amsterdam. ‘It’s been a catastrophe, personally and for the team,’ the former Arsenal and Hull City striker told ESPN. ‘I haven’t felt settled for two months, it’s only this week that I’ve felt settled. I’ve been in a hotel by myself, I’ve not been playing and I feel like I’ve been alone here, but this week I feel back to my normal self.’
Akpom spoke highly of new head coach John Van ‘t Schip and the way that the 59-year-old has helped him settle in. ‘The manager came and spoke to me straight away, on a human level not a football level. He asked how I am, how my family is. We’re footballers but we’re human beings firstly and I really appreciated that little chat with the manager and the assistant. But, it’s been really tough for me. I try to stay professional and keep working, but a new country, new environment, new team, in a hotel – it’s really a struggle.’
‘I feel like I’ve been alone, but I’ve still had the support of my teammates I guess, but it’s been dark days for us all. It’s not been the normal Ajax. I feel like the back-to-back wins that we’ve got now, we’re only just going to keep getting better.’ Ajax are currently 11th in the Eredivisie table. Next up, they face Brighton in the Europa League followed by an away league clash with the Eredivisie newcomers, Almere City.