German Bundesliga

Magath backs Raul to improve

August 22, 2010

Schalke coach Felix Magath believes Raul will be a hit in the Bundesliga this season even though he failed to convince on his debut for the club on Saturday.

Raul battle Schalke v Hamburg
APRaul made his debut for Schalke against Hamburg

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The former Real Madrid striker lasted just over an hour in the 2-1 defeat at Hamburg but Magath insists the opposition did not provide the ideal situation for the Spaniard.

"He is not a player who thrives on counter-attacks," said Magath. "He was not really able to prove himself. You cannot really evaluate his performance today."

Magath had to sacrifice Raul after Benedikt Howedes was shown a red card for a foul on Jonathan Pitroipa which the Schalke coach said was "exaggerated" and had "influenced the game in a big way".

"Referees need to be more careful in future in situations like that," added Magath, who nevertheless praised his side for equalising with only 10 men.

"Our morale was good," he said. "Not every team manages to score an equaliser against a strong opponent like HSV with just 10 men."

Nevertheless, he also had to admit that Hamburg had "deserved their win", thanks to a brace from Raul's former Madrid team-mate Ruud van Nistelrooy.

"Let's hope things carry on like this," said the Dutchman, who scored a hat-trick in the first round of the DFB-Pokal last week.

"This was a fantastic day. It was not a battle between me and Raul on the field - he is a friend of mineI scored the goals today and he will score them next time."