The Lancers boss shares his thoughts on the Ghanaian’s performance in Thursday’s encounter
Ajax coach Erik ten Hag was not pleased by Mohammed Kudus’ impact on Thursday’s 1-1 draw in the Europa League against AS Roma but believes the attacker must be given more time to get back to his best.
One-nil up, the Lancers threw on the Ghana international for Edson Alvarez in the 69th minute to support Davy Klaassen and Ryan Gravenberch in midfield.
Roma registered the equaliser three minutes later and would ultimately go on to qualify for the next round of the competition after a 3-2 aggregate win.
“No, with Kudus and Klaassen I would have expected to get the connection forward [in midfield] better,” Ten Hag explained at the post-match press conference.
“But that also has to do with the rest of the team. We have often done better.
“You really should not underestimate the injury he had. But it is. His potential, you can clearly see that, but he needs time to come back.
“We have to trust him and give him credit because we know he can. Then it will come back very soon.”
Just when he was beginning to find his feet following a move from Danish side Nordsjaelland last summer, Kudus suffered a meniscus injury on his Champions League debut playing against Liverpool in October last year.
Ajax announced he would be in the treatment room “for many months” but the 20-year-old returned to training in December, completing his comeback in a league clash with PSV Eindhoven a month later.
He was unlucky to suffer a relapse in the game, a situation that sent him back into rehabilitation for one more month.
He made a comeback coincidentally against PSV again, this time around in the Dutch Cup, and has since made 11 appearances for the club in all competitions.
Although struggling to rediscover his pre-injury form at Ajax, the attacker has flourished playing for Ghana.
Last month, Kudus, returning to national duty for the first time since 2019, scored Ghana’s crucial goal in a 1-1 away draw with South Africa in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Three days later, his presence was felt once again as he set up two goals to help the Black Stars register a 3-1 home triumph over Sao Tome and Prince to seal the successful Afcon qualifying campaign.