Gelsenkirchen - FC Schalke 04 still have some work to do if they are to qualify automatically for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, but forward remains convinced that the Royal Blues will snap up third place come the end of the season.

Speaking after the 1-0 defeat at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 32 - the Gelsenkirchen side's second straight defeat in the Bundesliga - the Dutchman gave a frank assessment of Schalke's and his own current situation and explained why he remained confident S04 will achieve their targets this season.

Question: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, this is the second defeat in a row for Schalke. What was the reason for it?

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar: We didn't deserve to beat Gladbach, it's as simple as that. You can say whatever you like, but you've just got to admit that Gladbach deserved these points more than we did. They fought well, scored the goal at the right time and even had more chances.

Question: You were only able to play your part late on. Was it so difficult to spark into life?

Huntelaar: I noticed that I wasn't completely fit myself, I was a bit drained to be honest.

Question: First defeat to Stuttgart, now Gladbach. Are you starting to get a little worried towards the end of the season?

Huntelaar: I'm not worried and I can say that for sure. We've got two games now to secure third place in the table and I'm totally convinced that we'll do it.

Question: But Schalke's performances have been far from convincing in recent games...

Huntelaar: That's true, you've got to be honest about it. If you look at our last few games, then we're not playing as well as we were in the weeks before. We've also put a lot of energy into these games in the second half of the season and we're just lacking something right now.

Question: But you're still certain that Schalke will qualify directly for the Champions League?

Huntelaar: We've got to turn the corner and it's up to us to do that. We've got our destiny in our own hands. We've got three and four points on Leverkusen and Gladbach and it's up to us to use that advantage to end the season in third.

Question: Could the pressure not become a bit of a problem, particularly for the younger players in the team?

Huntelaar: Of course anything can happen and you can never tell in advance. The best thing we can do now is win in Freiburg on Saturday, and then the pressure will not be so great and things would start looking really good for us.

Dietmar Nolte reporting from Gelsenkirchen