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Ajax on the hunt for new coach after releasing Heitinga
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Rob Ellis
John Heitinga has left Ajax
John Heitinga has left Ajax

Ajax are looking for a new head coach after releasing John Heitinga.

Ex-Everton defender Heitinga, 39, replaced Alfred Schreuder at the end of January but was unable to chase down eventual Eredivisie champions Feyenoord.

Director of football Sven Mislintat said: "This afternoon I told John.

"On a personal level, it was a tough decision and not easy to tell him.

"John stepped in at a difficult time to help the club and he did so with full conviction.

"We are very grateful to him for that. It was a difficult period. Ajax was fifth and eventually finished in third place.

"He has learned a lot in recent months and we would like to play a role in his further development and keep John connected to the club.

"But I have drawn the conclusion that Ajax must now have a more experienced coach for the group.

"For the phase we are in and for Ajax to perform better than last season, that is very important."

Ajax failed to win any trophies this season
Ajax failed to win any trophies this season

Heitinga was hired initially until the end of the season and started his tenure in fine fashion, winning seven league games on the bounce.

But defeats to title rivals Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven stunted momentum, along with a Europa League exit at the hands of Bundesliga outfit Union Berlin.

A penalty shootout loss to PSV in the KNVB Cup final further dented the mood around the Johan Cruyff Arena, with club chiefs now on the lookout for their third manager since Erik ten Hag's departure for Manchester United last summer.

Heitinga's exit follows Edwin van der Sar's decision to step down as chief executive on Tuesday, leaving the Dutch giants in a state of disarray.


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