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McClaren and Stevens keen to start afresh

Published: Wednesday 14 March 2012, 19.30CET
FC Schalke 04's Huub Stevens says his side are "not thinking about last week" as they look to overturn a 1-0 deficit against FC Twente, who are reluctant to assume the role of favourites.
by Steffen Potter
from Arena AufSchalke
McClaren and Stevens keen to start afresh
Huub Stevens oversees Schalke training on Wednesday ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 14 March 2012, 19.30CET

McClaren and Stevens keen to start afresh

FC Schalke 04's Huub Stevens says his side are "not thinking about last week" as they look to overturn a 1-0 deficit against FC Twente, who are reluctant to assume the role of favourites.

FC Twente may have edged last week's UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg against FC Schalke 04, but Tukkers coach Steve McClaren insists the Bundesliga outfit remain favourites to progress.

Luuk de Jong's 61st-minute spot kick was the difference in Enschede, handing Twente a narrow advantage to protect in Gelsenkirchen. While Schalke's unbeaten home record in Europe this season – won four, drawn one – shows the tie is far from over, the visitors have reason for optimism themselves having suffered only one defeat on the road in this term's competition.

Schalke coach Huub Stevens may think the Eredivisie outfit's slender lead puts them in pole position, but McClaren is reluctant to play the role of favourite. "He is a clever Dutchman, he is learning fast how to become the underdog," the former England manager said of his opposite number. "If we had scored a second goal we [would] be the favourites a little bit. I said before the last game Schalke are the favourites and they remain so, despite losing the first game. [But] we are confident we can score."

Stevens revealed at Wednesday's press conference that he is sweating on the fitness of Christoph Metzelder and Marco Höger but has given up hope of Benedikt Höwedes recovering from a torn thigh muscle in time. "It will be a different match to last week," he said. "We are not thinking about that any more. It is much more important to think about tomorrow. It doesn't matter what happened yesterday – today and tomorrow are much more important. We have to score a couple of goals and prevent them from doing so. It is down to us."

One player back at Stevens' disposal after missing the trip back to his homeland is Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, the competition's second-leading scorer having struck six times in seven appearances. "Everything is OK now, I am more or less at my normal fitness level," said the Netherlands striker. "In the first leg, everything had pointed torwards a draw until the penalty. We now have to use this to motivate ourselves for a good game. We have to score two goals more than they do, at least. I am only focused on going through, I don't care how we do that."

Twente defender Peter Wisgerhof, meanwhile, emphasised that his side's slender advantage will count for little once the action gets under way in Gelsenkirchen. "Things are starting from scratch," he said. "It is an away game and that makes things more difficult. It will be a totally different match to the one at home."

Last updated: 14/03/12 21.02CET

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