‘Genuine’ Raul wins Magath praise

Schalke boss Felix Magath has praised ‘genuine goalscorer’ Raul after his goal in the first leg of their Champions League tie with Valencia.

Raul’s strike on 64 minutes cancelled out Roberto Soldado’s opener for Valencia at the Mestalla, handing Schalke a 1-1 draw and the advantage ahead of their home leg of the round of 16 tie on March 9.

The goal was Raul’s 69th Champions League goal and his 71st in UEFA competitions, moving him above Filippo Inzaghi as the all-time highest goal-scorer in European competition.

The 33-year-old, who joined Schalke after 16 years at La Liga heavyweights real Madrid, won admiration for his contribution from Magath.

“(His) goal was no fluke,” Magath said.

“That’s a genuine goalscorer we are seeing here. His marker has to come the long way round and Raul knows it; he knows exactly where he’s going to put it.”

“The special thing about him is that he works so much for the team as well. We know we still have a lot of work ahead of us, at home against a team that play with such high intensity, and will prepare accordingly.”

Valencia coach Unai Emery conceded his side ‘suffered against Raul and (strike partner) Klaas-Jan Huntelaar more than we would have liked’.

But he was still confident his side can gain progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.

“It’s not the best result for us but it’s not the worst either,” he said.

“Schalke have taken a slight advantage. They are a good team and we will have to make defensive adjustments in order to be steadier at the back.”

“The objective over there (in Germany) will obviously be to suffer less against a physically powerful side.”

“I’m still convinced of our chances to qualify. We’re going to prepare for the return leg but right now we must concentrate on La Liga and work hard to seal our return to the Champions League next season.”