Daniel Caligiuri: Everything is a bit easier when you’re at the top of the table
As Daniel Caligiuri scored his penalty against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim after an hour gone on Saturday, there was plenty of hope from everyone in the Veltins-Arena that Schalke could come from 2-1 down and gain something from the game. “I had a really good feeling after my goal,” reported the 31-year-old.
“When I looked at my teammates’ faces, I could tell that we felt like we could turn the match around. The fans were also there pushing us on.” Unfortunately, this turnaround never came. Five minutes after Caligiuri’s fifth goal of the season, Hoffenheim restored their two-goal advantage. “We defended really badly for their third goal,” explained Caligiuri. “It was too easy for them out wide and then we didn’t mark properly in the middle. We were suitably punished.”
3-1 was another big blow
Schalke’s goalscorer also reported how Hoffenheim’s third goal greatly frustrated him and his teammates. They felt a similar way after conceding twice in the first half. “We were pushing for a goal, but then went into the break 2-0 behind. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what was going through our heads then,” he explained. “Conceding a third goal straight after getting ourselves back into the game was another big blow.”
We still have everything in our hands.
Caligiuri stressed the importance of scoring early in the upcoming games. “Once we do that, games will go completely differently. We would then be able to relax a bit more and control the game. It would also give us the opportunity to play on the counter attack, instead of us being caught on the counter ourselves.” The right-back also explained how he believes that the mental side of the game is one reason for the poor run of form. “Everything is a bit easier when you’re at the top of the table, which we saw last year,” he stated, pointing to a number of tight games last year, which the team managed to win.
Give everything for the club
A lot of the younger players will be experiencing this kind of situation for the first time in their careers. “I’m a little older and I remember being in a similar scenario at Freiburg and Wolfsburg. It’s vital that everyone sticks together,” Caligiuri said. “We have to push ourselves to the limit and give everything we can for the club.”
The German-Italian is sure that the poor run has nothing to do with the side’s hard work in training. “Every player concentrates and works hard, but a game is something completely different. The mental side of football plays more of a role.”
Despite the bad run, Caligiuri is remaining positive. “We still have everything in our hands, which makes a difference. I’m not looking at what other teams are doing – we need to believe in ourselves, and then we will start winning our own games.”