Wednesday 13 December 2017

Di Matteo: Not finishing job a Real shame

Di Matteo
Di Matteo

Schalke 04 coach Roberto Di Matteo was finding it hard to take in how his team managed to score four goals at Real Madrid on Tuesday but still failed to get past the holders into the Champions League quarter-finals.

Schalke produced one of the best performances of the season to claim a 4-3 victory at the Bernabeu but were eliminated 5-4 on aggregate after losing last month's last 16, first leg in Gelsenkirchen 2-0. "On the one hand we are of course very happy that we managed to win but at the same time it's a bit hard to take in that we scored four goals in Madrid and didn't get through," Italian Di Matteo told a news conference.

Netherlands striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, a former Real player, struck twice for the Bundesliga side, including an 84th-minute stunner that put them within a goal of pulling off a remarkable comeback.

It was Real's first Champions League defeat at home in 22 games since Barcelona beat them 2-0 in April 2011 and was only the second time they had conceded four goals in a European game at the Bernabeu.

However, a Cristiano Ronaldo double and a Karim Benzema strike were enough to secure a place for Real in the draw for the last eight on March 20.

"I was hoping we could go into the break 2-1 up but we unfortunately didn't manage it. That would of course have made the game more interesting for us," added Di Matteo (below).

"Perhaps we just didn't have that little bit of luck tonight that you need to get through such ties."

Schalke return to action in the Bundesliga with a game at Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

They are fifth with 10 games left, three points behind third-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach, and have a good chance of winning a berth in Europe's elite club competition again for next season.

Di Matteo said the quality of Real's forwards had been the difference between the two sides, who met at the same stage last term when Real won 9-2 on aggregate on their way to a record-extending 10th European crown. "We didn't allow Real Madrid to get into a rhythm but they have such quality and they showed that."

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