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Ajax manager Erik ten Hag says he was ‘totally stunned’ to learn about Marc Overmars’ alleged misconduct after what has been a ‘disastrous’ few days for the club.
The Eredivisie champions confirmed on Sunday night that Overmars had quit as director of football after a series of ‘inappropriate messages’ he sent to female colleagues came to light.
The 48-year-old, who had been in the role for almost a decade, subsequently apologised for his ‘unacceptable’ behaviour and admitted he had ‘crossed the line’.
The ex-Arsenal and Barcelona winger left the Amsterdam outfit with immediate effect, just two months on from signing a contract extension until 2026.
Asked how he is coping following Overmars’ departure, Ten Hag told ESPN: ‘I’m fine, but I know what you mean. We’ve had incredibly bad days, of course.
‘I was totally stunned when I heard it. This is disastrous. Especially for the victims; the women. I have a hard time with the suffering that has been caused to them.
‘Everyone processes this in their own way. I then withdraw a bit and am a bit quieter than usual.
‘As a coach you naturally have to radiate energy, but that was difficult the last few days.’
Ten Hag built up a close relationship with Overmars during their four years together at Ajax and feels some ‘sympathy’ for the former Netherlands international.
However, his ‘first thoughts’ are with those Ajax employees who have ‘suffered’ as a result of Overmars’ behaviour.
‘That’s why it hits hard. Of course, you sympathise with him,’ he added.
‘But the first thoughts go to the suffering of the women. It touches us all to the depths of our souls.’
Ten Hag has spoken with Overmars following his fellow countryman’s departure, but was not prepared to reveal details of their conversation.
‘That’s between us. It is difficult,’ he went on.
We are working on something very beautiful, it will be interrupted in a moment.
‘That is of course a very difficult situation. It affects us all, but as of yesterday, the switch had to be turned.’
Source: Metro Sport