Christian Gross: Becoming more attacking-minded
With last weekend’s long-awaited win still fresh in the mind, FC Schalke 04 are now looking for a repeat against Eintracht Frankfurt this Sunday (17/1). During a press conference in the lead-up to the game, head coach Christian Gross said that a weight has been lifted off his side’s shoulders, but that they have “long been focused” on the upcoming task. “We still have a long, tough road ahead of us,” he said.
The 4-0 win over Hoffenheim last weekend had helped to give the team confidence in the battle against the drop, said Gross. “The win was worth its weight in gold,” said the 66-year-old, who is aware that the team will still have to be prepared for any setbacks.
Despite the high scoreline last weekend, Gross believes that there is still room for improvement, listing the play down the wings as one such area. “We still lack power down the wings,” he said, adding that he is looking for his team to become even more attacking-minded.
Praise for Hoppe and Harit
In addition to a strong performance from Ralf Fährmann, two other players also managed to impress against Hoffenheim. Matthew Hoppe’s hat-trick and Amine Harit’s goal and three assists both drew praise from Gross. “Matthew has both feet planted firmly on the ground. He wants to continue to improve and to score goals,” Gross said, who also praised the 19-year-old for his professional attitude. Gross said that Harit is a technically skilled player who can read the game, adding that he helped his teammates to position themselves better against Hoffenheim, while also enjoying himself. “Amine has the vision to know when to go for a one-on-one during those key moments or when to play the perfect pass.”
Boujellab and Schöpf unavailable against Frankfurt
However, Gross didn’t just have positive things to say about his own side. With an eye on the upcoming opponents, the Swiss coach spoke about a team that defends well while being strong and varied in attack, in addition to having a great coach. “They are a team that you don’t want to give them the time to find their momentum,” said Gross, who will be without Nassim Boujellab and Alessandro Schöpf in Frankfurt. Both will hopefully return to training on Monday. Whether or not Omar Mascarell and Salif Sané will feature also remains to be seen. Further tests will determine whether the duo will be an option for the squad at the weekend.