David Wagner must rebuild Schalke’s emotional health

David Wagner of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
David Wagner of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

David Wagner has done a terrific job with Schalke this season, but rebuilding his club’s confidence may turn into a huge challenge for the gaffer. 

Schalke supporters probably didn’t really expect their favourite club to travel to Bayern and return home with three points. On the other hand, they also didn’t expect to receive a 5-0 pounding. That’s why David Wagner needs to work just as hard on his team’s emotional health as he does their tactics in the coming days.

To Wagner’s credit he didn’t offer any excuses about his team’s one-sided defeat. He referred to the match as a “clear and deserved defeat.” No impartial observer of the Bundesliga match would dare disagree with that assertion.

The key for Wagner and his squad is to turn the page quickly from the ugly loss. There’s very little to be gained by poring over the details of the Bayern match. They were outclassed by their opponent and didn’t display the fight required to keep the match close. In truth, it was a very un-Wagner like performance from the team.

Clearly, Schalke can’t go back and gain any points from a past match. The only thing they can do now is focus their attentions on Friday’s match against Hertha Berlin. That’s the sort of match Schalke need to win if they want to secure a top-four finish and Champions League football when the season is all said and done. They cannot afford to let the hangover from the Bayern defeat cause them to drop points against a mediocre side.

That puts Wager in a delicate position. He doesn’t want to let his team off entirely after the Bayern debacle, but he can’t afford to dwell on the match either. At this point in time, he should be done analyzing the last match. All of his energy should be on preparing his team to play its best match of the year on Friday.

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Schalke fans should pay close attention to any changes Wagner makes ahead of the team’s next match. That’s where they can really learn how he felt about the way things went against Bayern. His press conferences can be instructive, but his starting XI and tactics will tell the real truth.