Kevin-Prince Boateng said FC Schalke 04's 3-0 defeat of FC Steaua Bucureşti was down to "an excellent team performance" while Julian Draxler acknowledged confidence is high.
Article top media content
Kevin-Prince Boateng told UEFA.com the FC Schalke 04 players were "delighted with an excellent team performance" after they were made to work hard for their 3-0 Group E victory against FC Steaua Bucureşti.
Atsuto Uchida's fortuitous opener broke the dam in an otherwise close encounter, Boateng capping a man-of-the-match showing with Schalke's second and Julian Draxler adding a late third. Steaua's Łukasz Szukała agreed that the unorthodox breakthrough had thrown the visitors, but believed the scoreline was an unfair reflection of an otherwise positive display.
Kevin-Prince Boateng, Schalke midfielder
We've got every reason to be satisfied with the 3-0 victory and the clean sheet. Everyone in the dressing room is delighted with an excellent team performance.
We knew it was going to be a tough game and discussed it in our pre-match meeting. I know Steaua from playing them with Tottenham and Hertha and I remember them being very aggressive, but we did a good job tonight.
The first goal opened the game up because Steaua had to come at us and that afforded us more room. I ran into the box and I think 'Uschi' wanted to pick me out, but it ended up going straight in. It doesn't matter how it goes in as long as we get the win.
Basel beating Chelsea is what the Champions League is all about. Anyone can beat anyone at this level, that's why they're here. We know we've got some difficult games coming up, but we're prepared.
Julian Draxler, Schalke midfielder
The 3-0 scoreline is great for us, even if our performance was a bit run-of-the-mill to begin with. Still, you have to win these types of games too and it was a deserved victory.
I had no choice but to lift the ball over the keeper [for my goal) because he was right in front of me. I just gave it a try and thankfully it went in.
We've won our last three games so the confidence is certainly there. Next up it's to Bayern [in the Bundesliga], so we'll have to see what we can get from that game.
Benedikt Höwedes, Schalke defender
Obviously it's a great result, but we were made to work hard for it. I don't think we played with as much intensity as we would have liked, but Steaua made life very difficult for us in the first half. Still, we won 3-0 and created further decent chances, so we can go into this weekend's game against Bayern with confidence.
We've become very compact and stable in defence. That's three clean sheets in a row now, which will do us plenty of good. We're allowing our opponents fewer chances and that starts in attack. Defending isn't only up to the back four, it's the entire team, and we're doing that really well at the moment.
It was surprising to hear that Basel beat Chelsea, but that shows what quality is in the group. It's going to be an interesting game when we go to Basel because they'll be wanting to win at home.
Łukasz Szukała, Steaua defender
It's a shame because we held our own for much of the game and created several chances, but sadly they scored a fluke goal which knocked us out of our stride. If you look at the game as a whole Schalke had three chances – if you can call the first goal a chance – and scored all of them. It's a pity because we deserved to take something back to Bucharest.
Of course, we tried to throw everything forward in search of an equaliser, but Schalke were clever, sat back and hit us on the counterattack. They have unbelievable quality in attack and made the absolute most of their attacks. When they scored the second goal it was basically game over. Then they got a third; I don't think the scoreline is a fair reflection of the game because we were on a par with them for almost 70 minutes, but at this level your mistakes are punished immediately.
Up until the opener we did really well and enjoyed plenty of possession. We also created chances and could easily have gone 1-0 in front, but unfortunately we didn't manage it. Schalke have a lot of experience in the Champions League and punished us.
This was just the first game and we're not too worried. We showed tonight that we can play good football and we always do well at home, so there's plenty to build on. We've got some big games coming up against Chelsea and Basel and we want to show that we can learn from our mistakes to get a better result next time.