Gelsenkirchen - In spite of a second straight win to start the new year with, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar found it hard to take too much pleasure in FC Schalke 04's performance against VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Their struggles with an extra man outweighed his joy in picking up three points while he also realised how far he still has to go to reach optimal condition after only his second game back from injury...
Question:Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, you don't really look all that happy, despite this 2-1 win over Wolfsburg. Is that because you're concerned by the spell in the second half when Schalke almost threw the win away?
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar: We may have had an extra man, but we looked worse than Wolfsburg with one man less. The ten Wolfsburg players were better than eleven Schalke players. We were too passive rather then getting the ball moving more and making Wolfsburg run, and that's just not on.
Question: What's the reason for that in your opinion?
Huntelaar: We suddenly fell apart and stopped playing football. During this spell, we made too many mistakes and then all of a sudden, a bit of panic crept into our game and you could see that in the simple losses of possession and mistakes passing the ball, even when we were 1-0 up with an extra man. We've got to work on this to make sure it never happens again. That is what we can take out of this game - that we've got to improve a little more in terms of our condition to ensure we resolve situations like this better and make our opponents run more.
Question: It was still enough for a win, and Schalke have now come out of the winter break in fine form with two wins...
Huntelaar: That's true, even this scrappy win counts in the end. We fought our way out of that weak spell and that's the good thing we can take out of this game. We didn't let our heads drop after Wolfsburg equalised, so it's not like we didn't deserve our win in the end. This win is also very important for us and for our self-confidence.
Question: Was this game against Wolfsburg harder than the one against Hamburg a week ago?
Huntelaar: Wolfsburg were strong opponents and it was a tough battle for the whole team. We had to make more tackles and we tried a few too many long balls in the first half. In the second half, when Wolfsburg only had 10 men, we played some better football, but only after our weak spell.
Question: This was your second game back. How far would you say you are right now?
Huntelaar: I felt very good in our last game against HSV. It was a bit harder for me today against Wolfsburg. I played the full 90 minutes and maybe that was why. This game was certainly more demanding for me and I felt it more in my legs. I've definitely still got to build myself up more in training.
Question: You almost scored another goal, but you weren't able to take a big chance in the 53rd minute...
Huntelaar: The ball came to me and I was practically alone in front of the goal. I wanted to shoot with my left foot into the far corner, but I didn't really strike it well. I kind of scuffed it to the right. That's why I'm even more pleased that Kevin-Prince Boateng kept his cool to take his chance just before the end.
Dietmar Nolte reporting from Gelsenkirchen