Ajax boss critical of Frenkie de Jong role at Barcelona

Ajax boss Erik ten Hag has criticised the attacking role handed to Frenkie de Jong by new Barcelona boss Quique Setien.

The Dutch midfielder has played in a more advanced role for the Catalan giants since the appointment of Setien and found the net in Sunday’s 3-2 win at Real Betis.

De Jong only joined the Blaugrana this summer from Ajax in a €75m deal but he has become an instrumental first-team member and one of the first names on the teamsheet.

He has been selected regularly ahead of a host of alternative options such as Arthur Melo, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Riqui Puig – the highly regarded La Masia academy graduate.

“He is not a scorer,” Ten Hag explained on Dutch media outlet Ziggo Sport, as cited by Diario AS.

“He is the player who is in charge of supplying, of supplying the teammates who give the assists or who score goals from their position.

“I would have liked to continue counting on both of them (De Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, now at Juventus) for one or two more years, because It would have been better for Ajax and for Dutch football.

“With them you can go further in the Champions League because they are very high quality players.”

Setien’s side trail league leaders Real Madrid by three points and there have been doubts and concerns over their form all season, with the new few months set to be crucial once more.

De Jong has made 32 first-team appearances this season, with Sunday’s strike at Betis his second goal of the campaign.

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