Mönchengladbach - In the race to finish in the top four and secure UEFA Champions League football, FC Schalke have now played two direct rivals and beaten both.
Matchday 32's 1-0 win away at Borussia Mönchengladbach came after the Royal Blues
hammered Hamburger SV 4-1 last weekend, ensuring their three-point lead over fifth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt remains intact. Speaking after Saturday's game at Gladbach, USA international Jermaine Jones reflected on a Foals side that were a hard nut to crack, but maintained that the Gelsenkirchen side "deserved to win".
Question: Jermaine Jones, congratulations on the win. It looked like hard work...
Jermaine Jones: It was a tough one, but we knew that from the start. Gladbach played on the counter and waited for their chances. We wanted to come here and win. We always looked to get forward. They had their chances too of course, but I think we deserved to win.
Question: Schalke have picked up another important win from a tight game. In terms of the table, it’s another step forward, isn’t it?
Jones: We set ourselves the target of winning our final four games and have already won the first two. Now we’ve got a difficult home game against Stuttgart. We have to focus on our own games. If we beat Stuttgart, we can more or less secure fourth place and qualification for the Champions League. The guys all want to play in the Champions League again next season and we don’t want to let go of this opportunity.
Question: Facing Freiburg on the final day won’t be easy...
Jones: If that’s what it comes to, so be it - but it’s in our own hands. After HSV, we took out another one of our direct competitors in Gladbach. The others have to follow. We’re completely relaxed about it.
Question: The Gladbach fans were giving you a bit of grief whenever you touched the ball. Have you not got many friends here?
Jones: I’m not very popular at many stadiums, but it’s not a problem. It pushes me that extra mile. That’s what I like. If it takes a bit of the burden off my team-mates and they can go and do their thing, I’ve got no problem being the fall guy. I actually find it funny.
Question: You’ve worked with plenty of coaches in your career. How do you rate Jens Keller?
Jones: I already knew Jens as a player. I get on really well with him. He’s done a great job since coming in during the winter. He has a plan that we’re puting into action. We’ve practice our transition play a lot in training for example.
Question: Would you like that to continue?
Jones: Like I say, the team has learnt a few things since he’s been here. It’s down to others whether it continues.
Question: What do the players make of the talk linking Stefan Effenberg with the club?
Jones: In my six years at Schalke, I’ve had six coaches. You get used to it. That sort of thing doesn’t interest the players. We just have to concentrate on training.
Tobias Gonscherowski reporting from Mönchengladbach