Kevin-Prince Boateng (back) hugged Julian Draxler with a mixture of joy and relief after Schalke booked their place in the UEFA Champions League next season
Kevin-Prince Boateng (back) hugged Julian Draxler with a mixture of joy and relief after Schalke booked their place in the UEFA Champions League next season

Boateng: 'I'm very proud'

Gelsenkirchen - Kevin-Prince Boateng believed the quality within Schalke's side had ultimately shone through after the Royal Blues secured their berth in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League next season with a 3-1 victory over 1. FC Nürnberg on Matchday 34.

At the end of a difficult, injury-ravaged campaign, Boateng revealed he was "proud" of the Gelsenkirchen club's achievements.

Question:Kevin-Prince Boateng, congratulations on beating Nürnberg and securing third place in the Bundesliga. How would you sum up this season?

Kevin-Prince Boateng: I'm very proud. We had a sensational second half of the season and we deserved to finish third with our bunch of young rascals. We coped with so many setbacks and injuries this term and that just shows what quality we've got in this side.

Question: How happy are you with your own performance?

Boateng: I'm very happy to have had a good second half of the season. When I came here we were 14th, and now we're third. I think I've been able to help the team and I'm proud of that.

Question: Schalke and Nürnberg have a very strong fan friendship. Do you as players feel a bit sorry for your opponents?

Boateng: Of course I'm sorry for Nürnberg. It's always sad when a team goes down to Bundesliga 2.

Question: What part did coach Jens Keller play in this success?

Boateng: The most important thing was that the coach always kept his cool. There were so many rumours about his position and there were so many unsettling influences from the outside, but he didn't let any of that bother him. His coolness rubbed off on us too and he always prepared us excellently.

Question: What are his strengths?

Boateng: He's always extremely close to the team and he talks a lot with the players and tries to help. Of course he's a young coach who is still learning his trade, but it's incredibly important that he's so close to the players.

Question: Do you think Schalke could go even higher next season?

Boateng: Now's not the time for us to start putting ourselves under pressure for next season. Of course Schalke always want to be challenging near the top and we've managed to do that this term. But of course, next season we'll want to do even better.

Question: Will you need some new signings to manage that?

Boateng: We're just happy to have so many players coming back from injuries. When we have all hands on deck, then we're going to have a fantastic team. Of course we'd be pleased to be able to have even more quality too.

Question: How are you going to celebrate now?

Boateng: I'll go back to my family to start with then we've got a banquet tonight – a nice meal. We deserve to celebrate a bit. We'll have to say a few goodbyes to some players so it's also going to be quite sad.

Question: And what about you personally?

Boateng: We've got a friendly against Holland on the 31st and I'll be linking up with the [Ghanaian] national team on the 25th in Rotterdam. Then, preparations begin for the fantastic World Cup.

Markus Hoffmann reporting from Gelsenkirchen