Schone: Ajax perform best under pressure

The 26-year-old is in an optimistic frame of mind ahead of his side's crunch Klassieker clash as he targets another professional display on their route to a third straight title
By Jesse Wieten

Lasse Schone has insisted that Ajax will not buckle under the pressure of expectation when they face PSV in Sunday's potential Eredivisie decider.

The Amsterdam giants lead the Dutch standings by three points with five matches left to play, but Dick Advocaat's side - despite their shaky form of late - are only a victory away from top spot.

However, the Danish midfielder believes Ajax have already demonstrated that they can hold their nerve when the chips are down and seal their third straight title crown.

"The match against PSV is special, of course, but we must only be concerned about ourselves. No, we don't have too much confidence. It's important to stay focused, as we have been the whole season," he told

"Against Heracles, we stood tall with 10 men. Everyone made up a lot of ground and you could see how big our willingness was to clock up those extra yards.

"That says it all. We have played many games this season and sometimes we've played through the pain barrier. Importantly, we've kept our wits about us.

"Mentally we must remain strong. We have proven this to the whole league so far, but under pressure we perform the best."

Schone then gave his assessment of PSV, who have lost two of their last seven league matches amidst criticism of their coach, and urged his team-mates not to underestimate the unpredictable nature of their opponents' attack.

"PSV are on a downer, not only on the pitch but also off it. That gives us a little advantage on Sunday, but they are just as pumped up as we are. They remain a good team," he added.

"They will do everything to win, so we must be careful. They have players who can come out of nowhere to decide the outcome of a match.

"We just have to play like we have done the last few weeks and then we'll hurt PSV. Hopefully the game proceeds as it did in Amsterdam earlier this season. We played very well on that occasion."

Schone has scored six times in 28 Eredivisie appearances for Ajax since arriving from NEC last summer on a Bosman free transfer, and the 26-year-old claims he has revelled in the "tension" of having to win every match.

"It's nice to hear compliments, but there are still five games to go. I hope to continue on this path. I'm very glad that I've played well in my first season at Ajax," Schone remarked.

"I love the game that's advocated here. We have a lot of the ball, and a lot of players and coaches have spoken to me about how I play. It's why I feel so well and have adapted quickly.

"At my previous clubs, it was obviously important to win, but at NEC, we were happy to take a point against Ajax. Here, you're never happy with a point.

"That's the difference. I like to play under that pressure. That was one of the reasons I joined Ajax. I enjoy it - the tension that comes with the need to win each week."