Gelsenkirchen - They left it late in a narrow 1-0 win over Greek record titleholders Olympiacos, but FC Schalke 04 rightfully booked their place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League, whilst preserving their hopes of finishing top of Group B.

Austrian left-back Christian Fuchs may have scored the winning goal in the 77th minute of the match, but one man whose performance should not be downplayed was defensive midfielder . The US international, blonde streak included, was a driving force in the Royal Blues' midfield, winning 23 challenges and completing 78 per cent of his passes, including the assist for Fuchs, whilst typifying the never-say-die attitude often needed in Europe.

Talking after the match, Jones discussed a hard night's work for Schalke, their qualification into the last 16 in Europe's elite club competition and the upcoming top-of-the-table clash with high-flying Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga.

bundesliga.com: Jermaine Jones, you had a tough job on your hands tonight, but in the end there was a great sense of relief. Is that the best way to summarise this match against Olympiacos?

Jermaine Jones: It certainly wasn't easy. We showed from the start that we were determined to win the match. We continually created good chances for ourselves, but we struggled to make best use of them, especially in the first half. There was also an element of bad luck, for instance when hit the crossbar. During the course of the game we gradually became more courageous. Analysing the encounter over 90 minutes there can be no doubt that we deserved to win - even if it was by a narrow margin.

bundesliga.com: At the start of the match Schalke's style of play looked very tentative and sometimes even a disjointed. Was the defeat to Leverkusen from last weekend still playing on your minds?

Jones: It might have looked a little tough at times, but we still managed to create chances. In a game like this, against this type of opponent, you can't just run at them like mad men, all gung-ho, in the hopes of lighting a firework. If you're then hit on the counterattack, as we were in Leverkusen, then you're left standing there empty-handed. We wanted to push forward, but cautiously. That was our plan of action. We repeatedly sent out warning shots without leaving ourselves vulnerable in defence. Spread out over the course of the game, Olympiacos didn't have that many goalscoring opportunities.

bundesliga.com: Was patience the deciding factor in the win then?

Jones: We knew that we would need a lot of patience in this encounter. Olympiacos are not the first side to come to Schalke aiming to play predominantly on the break. We had been warned. We were determined to avoid letting the Greeks create dangerous counter attacks. We definitely learned from our mistakes in the game against Leverkusen. In that match we ran straight into a trap, but hopefully that'll never happen to us again in that way. Against Olympiacos we were patient and for that precise reason we were rewarded in the end. It was a victory for patience.

bundesliga.com: Further reward came in the form of slamming home a powerful long-range effort after you had played him in.

Jones: We all know that Fuchs has a superb left-foot. This can be seen time and time again when he crosses the ball or takes a shot on goal. His free-kick in the first-half was very close to going in. That he was then able to produce such an ice-cold finish was super for us! He's just got an incredibly strong left foot.

bundesliga.com: The win means that Schalke have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League with a game to spare. Are you now aiming to top the group?

Jones: Our first goal was to clinch our place in the Round of 16 by beating Olympiacos. We've all been working towards that, we achieved what we set out to and we can all be proud of that fact. That we're playing for top spot in the group when we face Montpellier makes it even better. We'll give everything we've got to triumph there as well in order to stay ahead in the group. After that we'll all be eager to see who we draw in the opening round of the knockout stages.

bundesliga.com: This weekend offers up another big Bundesliga game, as you host third-placed Frankfurt at the Veltins Arena.

Jones: Eintracht Frankfurt are definitely on the up, playing really good football and are full of confidence. That's exactly how they play their football. Armin Veh has put together a terrific young team that is really motivated. However, I think that in our stadium they'll likely lurk on the counter instead of putting our backs against the wall from the first minute. That Frankfurt are strong on the break is something they've demonstrated in several games this season. But we're well equipped and, just like we did against Olympiacos, we'll bring the necessary amount of patience.

Interview by Dietmar Nolte