Banned Schalke coach will trust in assistants

September 17, 2007

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Banned Schalke 04 coach Mirko Slomka has promised he will make no attempt to communicate with his assistants from the stands during Tuesday's Champions League Group B game against Valencia.

Slomka was given a one-match touchline ban for a gesture he made to the referee in a UEFA Cup game against Nancy last season.

In an age of blackberries and wireless internet, not to mention woolly hats, it would be no great technological challenge to be in contact with Nestor Jevtic and Oliver Reck but Slomka says he will trust in his assistants.

'My mobile is always switched off during games,' the coach said at a news conference on the eve of the game. 'It will be the same on Tuesday. Oliver has a lot of experience and they will do just as well as I can.'

In a famous case in 2005, Chelsea fitness coach Rui Faria wore a woolly hat that partly covered his ears when coach Jose Mourinho was similarly banned form the touchline.

That gave rise to speculation that he might be receiving messages from afar but Chelsea firmly denied any such suggestions and UEFA were satisfied there was no case to answer.

Schalke have never made the sort of impact in the Champions League as Valencia, twice runners-up and quarter-finalists last season, but the Spanish club's coach Quique Sanchez Flores said his side were facing a difficult start.

'Schalke could easily have been Bundesliga champions last season,' he said at a news conference. 'They are very strong in defence, play with a good strategy and can cause us a lot of problems.'