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Monday, February 11, 2013
Schalke star Jones backs under-fire boss

Stephan Uersfeld, Germany Correspondent

Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones has backed under-fire manager Jens Keller after the club's dismal defeat at Bayern Munich.

Out-of-form Schalke failed to create a chance as the runaway Bundesliga leaders won 4-0 thanks to a David Alaba brace and further strikes from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gomez.

The team have won only one of their last ten league games and dropped into the bottom half of the table after the latest setback.

But US international Jones told kicker it was unfair to blame Keller, adding: "I believe you should not link everything to the coach. He does a good job, and he can't do more.

"The coach does everything to get the tactics across. It is up to the players to make them happen.

"All of us were aware that it would be tough for us against Bayern after our defeat against Furth and with all the injured players.

"We were without Huntelaar, Draxler, Farfan and Uchida, and Papadopoulos and Affelay were absent as well.

"We need to pick up points at Mainz [on Saturday]. No more excuses. We all need to be aware we are Schalke players and have the aspiration to play internationally."

Schalke, who had been chasing Bayern at the top of the table earlier this season, are still only two points behind Mainz, who currently occupy one of the Europa League qualification places.

"After the recent defeats, we need to win at Mainz. That is a big game to try to stay in the mix," Jones said. "We are favourites there, and that's how we have to play."

Schalke general manager Horst Heldt also backed Keller, saying: "Keller is our coach and he will remain our coach until the end of the season. This will not be changed."

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