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Heldt defends Keller appointment

Schalke’s sporting director Horst Heldt believes he has made the right choice in appointing Jens Keller as head coach.

Schalke’s sporting director Horst Heldt believes he has made the right choice in appointing Jens Keller as head coach.

Keller, who took the position after the sacking of Huub Stevens last December, has led the Gelsenkirchen outfit to only one win in their previous five games,
leaving them eighth in the Bundesliga.

However, Heldt believes criticism of the former Stuttgart boss is grossly unfair and that he should be given an opportunity to improve the club’s position.

“Before Jens, we’ve also had long periods without wins where we dropped a lot of points and suffered unnecessary losses,” the 42-year-old German told ZDF.

“We decided to appoint Jens because he is an ex-Bundesliga player and he has experience as a head coach in the league. Of course he doesn’t have the experience of people like Jurgen Klopp or Jupp Heynckes, but he was available.

“I still don’t understand why many won’t even give him a chance. Even our Chancellor (Angela Merkel) gets (a grace period of) 100 days, and Jens Keller didn’t even get a single day.

“If you don’t give him a chance to prove himself in a competitive match, that’s disrespectful.”

Horst, who enjoyed a Bundesliga career as a midfielder for Cologne and 1860 Munich, was also keen to highlight the positives in Schalke’s season that he feels are ignored by the more ardent critics.

“We’re happy that we haven’t lost a match in this year’s Champions League yet and we want to keep this streak going,” the twice-capped Germany international added.

“We have our problems with injuries to players who are heavyweights in our squad, but nevertheless, we will try to reach the quarter-finals.”

Schalke face Galatasaray in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday.
Sun 17 February, 2013
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