Christian Gross: We’re focusing on us

Schalke’s first Bundesliga game of the new calendar year on Saturday, 2 January away to Hertha BSC (18:30 CET) will also be Christian Gross’s first game as the new Royal Blue head coach. The 66-year-old is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead and does not wish to spend too much time looking in the rear-view mirror. "It doesn’t help to always talk about the past. The future lies ahead of us, the new year is about to begin – let’s start it well," said the experienced football coach from Switzerland.

Christian Gross

His objective: Working with the team to start writing positive headlines again. Christian Gross is confident in his new team’s abilities to start winning Bundesliga games again and firmly believes that he and the players will avoid relegation.

We can only achieve our goal together.

Christian Gross

Gross has expressed his desire to show the players that he and his coaching colleagues want what is best for them and for the club. “We can only achieve our goal together,” underlined Gross, who is going into his new position with a positive attitude. In his view, every player needs to be capable of playing at 100 percent, giving everything and taking responsibility for the club.

Honest and open communication with the players

The new head coach said his relationship with the players was one of mutual respect based on honest and open communication. The winter break, though short, has done his team good, he claims: “The players came across well-rested – we trained well and covered a lot of different areas,” he reports, who is keen to keep the focus on his own team. “It is important that the players know what we want,” he explained, “not just this week, but for the weeks to come as well.”

Paciencia and Ludewig miss out, Sané and Mascarell doubtful

Christian Gross has not yet decided who will be playing up front against Hertha on Saturday, but did reveal that he is “fundamentally a fan of a back four” when it comes to defensive setup, one which can reshuffle to a back three depending on the score.

Salif Sané’s potential involvement in Gross’s first Schalke XI is still uncertain, as is captain Omar Mascarell’s. Goncalo Paciencia (recovering post-knee surgery) and Kilian Ludewig (successfully surgery on broken metatarsal) are both definitely unavailable.

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