Schalke captain Benedikt Hoewedes denies he criticised new coach Jens Keller after his side’s 5-0 loss to Bayern Munich in a friendly.
The Gelsenkirchen side were in poor form in the Bundesliga before the mid-season break which caused Huub Stevens to be sacked, and their heavy loss to Bayern has increased fan concerns about their chances of Champions League qualification.
The Germany international clarified his post-match comments about Schalke’s failings against Bayern and attempted to address the worries of his side’s supporters.
“There was no criticism of coach from me. What I meant was that, as a team, we pressed for the first few minutes but then fell back,” Hoewedes told Bild.
“If you look at the result, you can understand the fans’ frustration. But if you look closely at how we played, you can see some good stuff.”
Hoewedes insists Schalke can turn their league form around and qualify for the Champions League.
“I would not lower our expectations. I still want (to qualify for) the Champions League,” he said.
“We have got a good team of coaches, who provide good training exercises for us. We have individual quality – that is undisputed.
“If we can get some confidence by winning games again, we will climb back up the table.”
Schalke have made it into the last 16 of the elite European club competition and will face Galatasaray, with both teams hopeful of making the quarter-finals.