De Jong can NOT be Busquets's replacement: here's what Ten Hag said before Frenkie's move
- In Barca's La Liga opener vs Athletic, Valverde used Frenkie as a defensive midfielder.
- However, Ajax coach refused to give this role to De Jong at the time.
- After Ten Hag started using the Dutchman as a box-to-box midfielder, Frenkie improved a lot.
Frenkie was decent defensively, however, the team lacked his supportive functions as he couldn't risk roaming from the recommended position. Eventually, Barcelona needed to get more creative during the game as only Ivan Rakitic's emergence helped Barca to improve in this regard.
Curiously, De Jong's lower impact as a defensive midfielder was previously noticed by Ajax coach Erik ten Hag.
"The quality of your players decide how you will play, and with what system. We had to find a way to make Frenkie function in the best possible way," ten Hag said. "You saw his incredible talent, but where do we have to use him to get the best out of him and his talent?
"Eventually I decided to play with two "number 6" players on the pitch. Once I did this you saw how much better he became on the pitch, and how much better he made the whole team play and especially the attackers."
Shall both De Jong and Busquets be in Barca's regular starting XI?