Conceding an early goal to FC Twente was the shock FC Schalke 04 required to rally and qualify for the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, according to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Article top media content
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar believes that conceding what appeared to be a killer early away goal to an FC Twente team already leading on aggregate was the jolt FC Schalke 04 needed to bring them back to life. However, the Arena AufSchalke's hat-trick hero insists there are "no easy opponents" left in the last-eight draw of the UEFA Europa League.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Schalke striker
We didn't play so well in the first half. Twente were better than us. We didn't put them under enough pressure. Their goal put us under a lot of pressure but we responded to that brilliantly and got the three goals we needed, which says a lot about this team. I saw that Athletic Bilbao put out Manchester United so we know they, for example, have some great players. There are no easy opponents now.
Jermaine Jones, Schalke midfielder
We had a spell of ten to 15 minutes where we were a little down but thankfully we got the goal before half-time to bring us back into the game. The coach had a good chat with us at the interval, told us that we had to attack earlier and I think we did that. That was the best of Schalke out there in the second half.
All the teams left in the competition are dangerous. The Manchester clubs are out so the teams who put them out are obviously also very strong, but I think, after that second half, other teams will have to show a lot of respect for us.
Luuk de Jong, Twente striker
We were having a good first half, in the main, but Schalke’s penalty really sapped the energy out of the team. After that, we started to struggle a bit and Schalke showed their strength. Everyone knows Huntelaar is a goal-getter and he certainly proved that tonight. It's a shame that we lost, but now we have to focus on our domestic season.
Steve McClaren, Twente coach
We started well and we knew that we would need at least one or maybe two goals. At 1-1 we were still very much in it, but the penalty changed everything for us. That put us under pressure. Now we are fully concentrated on the league.