Schalke keeper Ralf Fährmann backs under-fire coach Andre Breitenreiter

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(London Post)    The Schalke number one has explained his shock at the reports on Monday, which have put the club’s coach in the firing line. Fährmann believes patience is required for the Royal Blues to move forward.

Schalke’s indispensable goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann has described the frustration of the club’s players after head coach Andre Breitenreiter was on the receiving end of stiff criticism following the 3-1 defeat at home to Werder Bremen on Sunday.

Despite leading, the Royal Blues went down to goals from Clemens Fritz, Claudio Pizarro and Anthony Ujah. The German press congegrated at Schalke’s training ground on Monday after claims surfaced that Breitenreiter had been criticized internally by club management. Those claims were dismissed by sporting director Horst Heldt.

The Schalke head coach described the flack as “reputational damage” when speaking to reporters at the club’s media conference on Thursday. And the 27-year-old, who hasn’t missed a minute of league football under Breitenreiter, spoke of his bemusement and disappointment at Monday’s reports.

“We sat down together and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry,” he told the official Schalke website. “This whole thing has come out of the blue. I talk with many players and I haven’t heard any sort of criticism of the coach in recent days or weeks, so that’s why I was totally gobsmacked.

“The door to the coach’s office is always open. We have not had such a communicative coach as Andre Breitenreiter at Schalke for a long time.”

‘We have improved’

The Royal Blues are well in the hunt for the fourth Champions League position with just two points separating them and Borussia Mönchengladbach. But the race for Europe’s elite tournament is cut-throat in its nature and Schalke are competing alongside Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg who featured in the competition this year.

Managing inflated expectations in Gelsenkirchen has been a problem for several coaches and Breitenreiter, a former coach of Paderborn, appears to be grappling with similar conditions. This summer, star player Julian Draxler left the club for Wolfsburg and claimed the pressures of life at the Veltins Arena were one of his deciding factors.

“It is definitely not conducive to the development of the team and to the development of individual players when people begin to question everything straight after we lose a match,” Fährmann said. “When you compare last season with this one, we have improved in many areas: we are creating more chances, we are winning more challenges and we are running more!

“At the moment we are just lacking the goals. We are not doing ourselves justice yet. If we had won last time out then we’d all be celebrating in each other’s arms, but we lost and now it’s apparently worse than ever? That can’t happen.”

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