Striker Gerald Asamoah insists FC Schalke 04 "are not thinking about the UEFA Cup" after a draw at Valencia CF set up a must-win decider against Rosenborg BK.
Now third in the section, two points adrift of the Norwegian challengers and one ahead of Valencia, Schalke must beat Rosenborg at home on 11 December to clinch a place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, and while a UEFA Cup spot could be on offer if they fail, Asamoah dismissed such thoughts. "We're confident we can go to the next round," he said. "We're looking for it and we're hungry. We are not thinking about the UEFA Cup."
It was a more comfortable night at the Mestalla than Mirko Slomka's team would have anticipated. They came under pressure but in the main Marcelo Bordon and co. gave goalkeeper Manuel Neuer splendid protection. Valencia's task became more complicated in the 32nd minute after captain David Albelda was shown the red card and they struggled to get shots on target all night. Schalke had arguably the better opportunities as Asamoah reflected: "We had chances to win but we are happy with the point. Valencia did well considering they were down to ten men."
Valencia midfielder Edu, making his first European appearance of the season because of injury, concentrated on the positives while admitting the result left him "sad". He said: "We've played well and fought hard until the end with one man less against a difficult German team which is full of big, strong players. I feel happy because I've played 90 minutes even though I finished exhausted but I also feel sad because we are out of a great competiiton. Yet our image on the pitch has been great because of the way we played with a man sent off."
UEFA Cup aim
Joaquín said there were happy faces in the Valencia dressing room "because of the effort we've put in", adding: "There's always sadness when you go out of competition because we wanted to be in the second round. But the UEFA Cup would be great as well so we have to work for that. The fans were great tonight and we really noticed them in the second half. It helped to keep us going but in the end it comes down to the players whether we win or lose."
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