Huub Stevens: It’s the only way

Despite losing 2-0 to Sevilla in Friday’s Antonio Puerta Trophy, Huub Stevens wasn’t downbeat about the way his side played. “It’s a pity that we couldn’t reward ourselves for a solid performance,” said the Schalke coach.

“We were well organised and carried a threat in attack with some quick play,” analysed the Dutchman. “The way we attacked gives us confidence. We had our chances and worked them well – they didn’t come from nothing,” said Stevens, who believes his team have taken a step forward despite the result.

The missed chances weren’t the only problem area for the coach though, with both of Sevilla’s goals “avoidable”. The penalty decision that led to Munir El Haddadi wrapping up the win in the 72nd minute was particularly irritating for Stevens. “It was a ridiculous call,” were his post-match thoughts, and the TV footage showed that Jonas Carls did indeed win the ball.

Keep pulling together

U23s player Carls was one of seven talents from the Knappenschmiede that got a taste of first-team football in Seville, and Stevens was happy with his young charges. “I think you could see that there is a lot of potential there,” explained the coach.

Huub Stevens’ focus already switched to the upcoming Bundesliga game against Hannover 96 next Sunday (31/3) on the flight back to Germany. “Our situation remains the same. We need to keep pulling together. It’s the only way – there is no alternative,” said the 65-year-old. “We need to work our fingers to the bone,” insisted Stevens, but he’s aware that the players need to enjoy their work too. “That’s part and parcel of it. We need to try and make sure everyone’s head is clear before the Hannover game.”

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