New FC Schalke 04 coach Ralf Rangnick has admitted "the Bundesliga table reflects a team's ability" as his side aim to improve their league form.
The 52-year-old, who formally replaced Felix Magath on Monday having watched Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Bayer 04 Leverkusen from the sidelines, feels his new charges have plenty of work to do. While they have reached the German Cup final and the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals – where they face holders FC Internazionale Milano – Schalke lie tenth in the domestic standings.
"The Bundesliga reflects a team's ability, it is a barometer of the state the team are in," he said. "There have been exceptional results this season at Schalke, which had not been thought possible. In the Champions League the team have won 17 points from a possible 24, but then there have been truly bad performances as well."
Rangnick, who previously managed Schalke from September 2004 to December 2005, is now concentrating on his first league assignment against FC St Pauli on 1 April. He has targeted two wins to prevent the club getting sucked into a relegation dogfight.
The former VfB Stuttgart, Hannover 96 and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim boss has also stated a desire for Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and forward Jefferson Farfán to stay beyond this season, although he does intend to reduce the squad size. "First, though, we want to get some victories and develop a style of play that shows there is a real team on the pitch," the Swabian added.
General manager Horst Heldt said he appreciated Rangnick's willingness to take the job early, given he was initially slated to succeed Magath in the summer. "It was the right choice for him to start right now instead of July. At Leverkusen, you could see that our team are in a difficult situation."
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