Thomas Tuchel insists he has no issues with Mario Gotze or Andre Schurrle and expects the Germany internationals to produce their best for Borussia Dortmund in the near future.
Both attackers have fallen short of the high expectations that greeted their arrival at Signal Iduna Park in the close-season, Gotze returning from an unhappy stint at Bayern Munich and Schurrle making the move from Wolfsburg.
A report this week claimed Tuchel had berated Gotze during a training exercise, but the BVB coach, addressing the media ahead of a Bundesliga match away to Hoffenheim on Friday, claimed the incident has been misunderstood by the media.
“I was informed on Wednesday that I had a problem with Mario, which is simply not true,” he said.
“I said loudly after a [passing exercise], where 10 players were involved, that I was not satisfied.
“The journalists who were there have heard that, and it’s also perfectly okay to write about it, but the sentence was not just about Mario, [that’s] a big difference.”
Asked to explain why the two stars have struggled for consistency in the first half of 2016-17, Tuchel replied: “There is no one reason for this, both of them have arrived late [from the close-season break following Euro 2016], then came to a new team.
“Andre Schurrle started well but then he was injured for four weeks, and Mario had hoped that he would adjust quickly in a familiar environment.
“We hoped that they could get a quick start, but we also planned that it could take a long time.
“Expectations are very high for both of them [but] they have our confidence as long as they continue to give it their all.”
Tuchel has several fitness problems to contend with, Lukasz Piszczek, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Gonzalo Castro having all come off in the 1-1 draw at Cologne last time out.
“We’re trying to get the best from the squad we’ve got and we’re not thinking about reinforcements from the Under-23s,” he said.
“Sven Bender is back in training, maybe we have to take him, even though [ideally] we would not do it.
“Perhaps we have no alternative but … he is free from complaints and in good condition.”
Dortmund go into the game sixth in the table, eight points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
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