Di Matteo Aims to “Organize” Schalke’s Defence

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Roberto Di Matteo has set out to improve Schalke’s defence following his unveiling as the German Bundesliga side’s new boss on Wednesday.

In his first media briefing as the ‘Royal Blues’ manager at the Veltins Arena, the 44-year-old said his goals are to qualify the Champions League knockout phase and to secure their place in next season’s competition by finishing in the top three in the Bundesliga.

“It’s a good team, which has a lot of potential going forward, but it has some problems in defense,” Di Matteo said. “We have to work on our defensive organization and I have a lot of work ahead of me.”

Scahlke have won just two of their last ten matches and are presently logged on 11th place in the league table with eight points. Di Matteo is their eighth coach in six years and will be assisted by Attilio Lombardo, who served under Roberto Mancini as assistant manager at Galatasaray in the 2013/14 season and previously at Manchester City. Massimo Battara has also been named as goalkeeper coach.

Roberto Di Matteo's Schalke Will Face Chelsea on 25th November. Image: Twitter @s04_en.
Roberto Di Matteo’s Schalke Will Face Chelsea on 25th November. Image: Twitter @s04_en.

The Italian will take charge of his first training session on Thursday and then sets out on a three-year reign with an upcoming home game against Hertha BSC after the international break.

“There is only one boss in the dressing room,” he told reporters. “We have to work on getting more organised and work on the players’ confidence. There is no miracle cure, we need patience and time.”

Schalke are third in their Champions League group after two draws from two games- the second of which they earned last week against Chelsea in Gelsenkirchen. Di Matteo, who led the Premier League giants to their first-ever Champions league triumph in 2012, returns to Stamford Bridge on 25 December in the reverse fixture.

Quizzed on his expectations for the clash, the ex-Lazio star said: “I have only been here 24 hours and there are a lot of games to come before that one.”

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