Jermaine Jones has told kicker that FC Schalke 04 have to set their sights on the Bundesliga title this season.
Jones, 31, was one of the final Schalke players to start pre-season training last Sunday after having been allowed to extend his holidays following his appearances for the United States in their recent run of World Cup qualifiers.During the 2012-13 season, Schalke managed to finish fourth, which sees them enter the Champions League in the last round of qualifiers in late-August. Jones, however, is eager to top that achievement as he targets nothing less than the championship.
“This team has the potential to play at the very top of Bundesliga. Therefore I think we should not target places two to four,” he added. “Our target should be to play for the Bundesliga title. High ambitions are part of football and you should not fear that something might not work out.”
Bayern Munich are strong favourites to defend their title after adding the likes of Mario Gotze and Thiago to a team that is now coached by former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.
“It’s great when – ahead of the season - everyone says they are in a class of their own,” Jones said. “Could there be anything better than to chase this team to get to where this team already is?”
The Frankfurt-born midfielder is in the last year of his contract at Schalke. “The upcoming season will be the most important season of my career,” Jones told kicker. “I never started a season with my contract expiring at the end of it. That’s how I want to present myself.”
Jones added that Schalke would “have to cope” with the high expectations if they set their sights on the title. He also said he was happy about competition for places after the club's summer signings. In signing Leon Goretzka, 18, they brought in another player for Jones’ position in holding midfield.
“First of all, the competition has always been demand by me or Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. It is obvious, we now cannot say you shouldn’t sign any players for my position,” he said. “I have been around for a long time now and have been written off at times. But in the end I was on the pitch week in and week out. And just like that I will not give away my position now.”