David Wagner: Play football that speaks to the people

David Wagner took on the job at FC Schalke 04 a few weeks ago, but today (27/6), the new head coach of the Royal Blues was presented to the public – 22 years after his last appearance in a Schalke shirt.

“When the call came it was quickly very clear that I would absolutely love to do the job. I’m unbelievably happy and proud to be here,” said Wagner, who was introduced alongside Head of Sport, Jochen Schneider, Michael Reschke (Technical Director) and Sascha Riether (Team Co-ordinator).

Wagner, who played for the Royal Blues between 1995 and 1997 and was one of the legendary Eurofighters, said that his family are very happy to be back in the Ruhr area. “The people are clear and direct – exactly like myself,” said Wagner. When discussing his old and new club, the S04 coach stated: “It’s an unbelievably big club with lots of emotions. When you play at this club, it never leaves you.”

Put last season behind us, but don’t forget it

In his first press-conference as Schalke coach, the 47-year-old explained that it is imperative that the team are geared up and ready to achieve success with exciting football. “It’s important that we create a mentality and atmosphere that is conducive to working hard,” said Wagner.

Last season should be put behind us, but that is not to say that we should just forget all about it. Wagner wants the club to learn from the less than successful campaign. In an attempt to do so himself, he spoke with Huub Stevens, almost 20 years after he played in Stevens’ Schalke side. The talks with his former coach were “chilled,” but also “enlightening”, reported Wagner.

In recent weeks, the new head coach has been able to talk to the club officials and gain an overview of everything. “We have analysed everything extensively and know exactly what we want to do. We also know, however, that patience is required,” explained the 47-year-old with regard to possible transfers.  Wagner did not wish to mention names, but revealed that he intends to shrink the squad.

We want to play attractive football again.

David Wagner

Wagner did not mention any specific targets for next season, particularly with regard to the table: “I don’t like to communicate aims externally, because that can limit you from the start,” he explained. First and foremost: “We want to play attractive football again.”

Attractive and successful football is to put right all the wrongs of last season, which saw the Knappen finish 14th in the Bundesliga. “Team spirit, mentality and eagerness to work need are paramount. We need to keep upholding all these basics,” he emphasised, who wants to improve the unity within the team. “It is important for us to accept that a lot of things did not work last season, and we are open to changing things for the better,” said Wagner: “We need to make sure the players are confident again. It is important to coach the group, and make sure they feel like a team.”

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