Ajax coach Frank de Boer believes Fenerbahce striker Robin van Persie will be extra motivated for Thursday’s Europa League clash in Amsterdam after being dropped from the Netherlands squad.
Van Persie was left out of the Dutch party to face Wales and Germany this month, with Netherlands coach Danny Blind not convinced by the striker’s match fitness following his move to Turkey in July.
Former Netherlands captain Van Persie was also stripped of the national team armband after Blind replaced Guus Hiddink and was involved in their dismal qualification campaign as the Dutch missed out on Euro 2016.
And De Boer believes the 32-year-old has a point to prove, as the former Netherlands coach told a media conference: “Now he will be extra motivated against us.
“Van Persie is a good and often dangerous player. He can always make the difference so we need to keep him in check.”
Back-to-back draws with Celtic and Molde followed by defeat to Fener in Turkey have left Ajax on the verge of elimination from Group A.
Fernandao’s late winner in Istanbul a fortnight ago means De Boer is well aware of the need to pick up points at home in this week’s reverse fixture.
“We have to win against Fenerbahce, otherwise it will be almost impossible to reach the next round,” he added.
“If everything goes well, we can also get very far in Europe. But first let’s focus on the group stage.
“Fener will play very compact and we have to do that as well. But PSV showed us [in their 2-0 Champions League win against Wolfsburg on Tuesday] that a Dutch club can be very successful in Europe.”