Benedikt Höwedes said Real Madrid CF punished "mercilessly" FC Schalke 04's errors in a 6-1 defeat which left Felipe Santana to conclude that his side were "taught a lesson".
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Benedikt Höwedes said FC Schalke 04 were shown their limits by "one of the best teams in the world" after the Bundesliga outfit were dealt a 6-1 hammering by Real Madrid CF in the first leg of their round of 16 tie – the German side's heaviest loss in the UEFA Champions League.
His defensive colleague Felipe Santana felt the Royal Blues were given a "lesson in football", while the scorer of Schalke's consolation goal, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, struggled to savour his wonder strike given the magnitude of the defeat.
Benedikt Höwedes, Schalke defender
You have to remember we were playing against one of the best teams in the world. We started really well and perhaps should have scored, but didn't, and Madrid put their first chance away. They have some incredible individual talent up front and punished each and every one of our mistakes mercilessly.
We made too many errors in our build-up play. We lost the ball too easily and played silly passes which they were waiting to pounce on. [Cristiano] Ronaldo didn't do much defending on the wing, he just waited for the chance to counter and invariably got the ball. We're competing at an extremely high level here and today we saw where our limits were.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Schalke forward
We played well in the first quarter of an hour, but if you make mistakes like we did it's always going to be difficult. We all know that, but we need to work hard to make sure that next time it doesn't happen.
We had a good chance early on when Julian [Draxler] could have equalised, but to be honest there's no defending the mistakes we made. My goal didn't help much – it was 6-1 after all. Now we need to win 6-0 at their place. That's not going to be easy. In fact, it's pretty impossible.
Felipe Santana, Schalke defender
We knew how difficult this match would be and that you can't afford to make any mistakes against Real Madrid. We gave them too much room and if you give players of that quality a millimetre, chances are you'll be punished.
It's the knockout stage of the Champions League and you have to concentrate and take your chances when they come. We didn't do that and Madrid did – quite simple.
You always have to learn from these games, but we really were taught a footballing lesson today. Now we have to work hard to correct the things we did wrong and I'm confident we'll put in a better performance next time.