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'Near-perfect' Schalke delight Elgert

"We had to give an almost perfect performance," said coach Norbert Elgert after FC Schalke 04 sealed a semi-final spot at Chelsea FC, who admitted they had been outfought.

'Near-perfect' Schalke delight Elgert
'Near-perfect' Schalke delight Elgert ©UEFA.com

Norbert Elgert praised his FC Schalke 04 team for a "near-perfect" performance after their 3-1 victory at Chelsea FC earned them a place in next month's UEFA Youth League semi-finals, where they will face either FC Barcelona or Arsenal FC.

"We had to give an almost perfect performance to enable us to beat a fantastic Chelsea team," said Elgert while his opposite number Dermot Drummy admitted that his team, who had won all seven previous games in the tournament, had been outfought.

Norbert Elgert, Schalke coach
It was a match of the highest international quality. We knew we had to play a near-perfect game to have a chance of beating Chelsea.

It is very unusual for a youth team to give a near-perfect game. I was very surprised at the tactical discipline that we showed over the 90 minutes. I know the capability of our team, the team spirit, but the tactical discipline was very important – that and the fact that in this game we managed to score goals.

It was entirely different to the two group matches because we scored. In the other two games, we defended fantastically well and Chelsea only scored through set pieces. We knew we had to defend well again and prevent set pieces, but it is difficult to do that against such a fantastic team.

The third goal was decisive because after Chelsea's goal we got deeper and our boys wanted to finish the game. If Chelsea had scored again they perhaps would have gone on to win, so the third goal was very important.

Sebastian Starke Hedlund, Schalke defender
This victory was a little bit of a surprise for everyone, but we know we are a good team. We had respect for Chelsea, but with our pressing game we know we can beat anyone. Of course there was pressure before my penalty, but I wasn't too nervous. I have done it many times and I just followed the same procedure. The whole team defended very well and everyone did their jobs correctly for the team. That was the key to this win.

Dermot Drummy, Chelsea coach
Full credit to Schalke – we were beaten by the better team. They performed admirably in the first half; we didn't win the second balls and they outfought us. The early penalty meant that their tails were up while the second goal was a piece of magic by the No10 [Leroy Sané], who we identified as an outstanding prospect.

I can't fault the lads' effort in the second half, but the more we tried to open them up you knew they would counter well against us. They are a quality side and their coach had done his homework on us – they blocked us off centrally and hit us on the counter.

It wasn't a surprise. Our 2-0 win in Germany was a battle and in the 1-0 at home we were hanging on, so I knew it would be tough for us. When they pressed us, we were a little bit shocked to get out of it.

It wasn't necessarily the quality of our football today. I have to say the mentality wasn't enough against a very strong-minded Schalke team. We prepared in this game to press them, but we weren't able to do it. They were typically German – working hard, well-organised but with some magic flair players as well.