The Schalke captain has rejected allegations that negative comments he made after their heavy friendly loss to the Bundesliga leaders were aimed at his head coachBenedikt Howedes has denied that comments he made about Schalke's style of play in the 5-0 loss to Bayern Munich in a friendly on Tuesday were a criticism of new head coach Jens Keller.
The Gelsenkirchen side were in poor form in the Bundesliga before the winter break which caused Huub Stevens to be sacked, and their heavy loss to has increased fan concerns about their chances of Champions League qualification.
However, the Germany international clarified his post-match comments about Schalke's failings against die Roten, and attempted to address the worries of his side's supporters.
"There was no criticism of coach from me! What I meant was that, as a team, we pressed for the first few minutes but then fell back," Howedes told Bild.
"If you look at the result, you can understand the fans' frustration. But if you look closely at how we played, you can see some good stuff."
Howedes also insisted that Schalke can turn their league form around and qualify for the Champions League.
"I would not lower our expectations; I still want [to qualify for] the Champions League," he added.
"We have got a good team of coaches, who provide good training exercises for us. We have individual quality [in the squad] that is undisputed. If we can get some confidence by winning games again, we will climb back up the table."
Schalke have made it into the last 16 of the elite European competition and will face Galatasaray, with both teams hopeful of making the quarter-finals.