With more than a hint of wistfulness, Klaas-Jan Hunterlaar has spoken of Ajax's loss of Wesley Sneijder.
The Amsterdam club, carrying on its reputation for providing the biggest European clubs with fine talent, sold the Oranje ace on in summer, leaving what Huntelaar describes as a gaping hole in midfield.
"Last season, we largely built our system of play around him," said the striker, himself capped eight times for Holland.
"Now that he's gone, we're finding it tough. We perhaps focused our game a bit too much on him. He took a lot of responsibility that others now must fulfill. We'll work on it."
Ajax once again failed to qualify for the Champions League group stages and, adding insult to injury, have landed a tough clash in the UEFA Cup as they travel to face Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday.
Their last Eredivisie result was a mere 1-0 win over minnows Heracles, with Huntelaar unhappy with many aspects of the performance.
"We need to start playing well again, and it needs to start at the back. We played early, long balls against Heracles - too easy for them to defend.
"And we can't focus on one player, like we did with Wesley. Everyone needs to get involved," he concluded.
Huntelaar scored 21 goals in 32 league appearances last season.