Domenico Tedesco: Concentrating solely on ourselves

FC Schalke 04 can secure a place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday (28/11), before the last game of the group stage. “That is our main target,” said Domenico Tedesco ahead of the match against FC Porto (21:00 CET).

Domenico Tedesco

The fact that the team can qualify even before kick-off (if Galatasaray don’t beat Moscow, S04 will automatically qualify), is something the Schalke coach is choosing not to focus on too much. “We are concentrating solely on ourselves,” said Tedesco, “We have no control over other games but we can control how our game pans out. We are highly motivated and want to get to the next stage.”

We have no control over other games but we can control how our game pans out.

Domenico Tedesco

Tedesco explains that his team will want to be confident in Estadio do Dragao. The feeling is good amongst the team after the recent 5-2 win against Nürnberg, however the coach does not want the players to get ahead of themselves after the victory. “I always said after the five losses that not everything was bad. After the win and the five goals, everything is not suddenly good,” said Tedesco. “Nevertheless we are of course really happy with the goals and the fact that we could give something back to the fans. They have been supporting us through some rough games in the last few weeks and months. We are very thankful for them.”

McKennie ill, Oczipka not available

The Royal Blues will have to do without Weston McKennie in Porto. The American has not made the trip to Portugal due to illness. “We have to wait and see if he is an option for the upcoming league game against Hoffenheim,” explained Tedesco. Should he be available, the youngster would travel separately to the southwest. The Royal Blues will fly on Friday (30/11) direct from Porto to Kraichgau. “So that we minimise the strain of travelling,” explained the coach. “We will train in Porto on the day after the game and save ourselves a trip. I believe that will help us.”

Bastian Oczipka, who made his return against 1. FC Nürnberg after a long time out with injury, is in the same boat as McKennie, as he is also unavailable for the Champions League match. The left-back was not listed in Schalke’s team for the Champions League group stages, which the team must stick to according to UEFA regulations. Should the Royal Blues make it to the knockout stages, the 29-year-old may be included.

Suat Serdar is once again an option for Tedesco. The U21 international was unavailable for the game against Nürnberg due to illness. “He has already rejoined full team training,” said the coach. Whether or not the midfield man will play is a subject that the 33-year-old has left open. “The situation is the same as always: I will give no indication of the starting XI before the match.”

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