Before their surprising loss to Wales, Belgium manager Marc Wilmots confirmed that he was interested in the opening Schalke job, but he lost out to Paderborn boss André Breitenreiter, whom the Bundesliga club confirmed as their next manager just yesterday, and that didn’t make Wilmots terribly happy.
According to the Belgium coach, he was in talks for the position, and had a mutual agreement to continue the discussions following their match with Wales so he could concentrate on his current duties, and the club circumvented their agreement to hire Breitenreiter.
“To announce such a thing just hours before our crucial Euro 2016 qualifier is incredible and really bad style,” Wilmots told Kicker magazine. “One thing must be made clear — it was Schalke who approached me, even though I’m in charge of a big team here in Belgium. It was never me asking Schalke for a job. That’s why it’s a bad joke when they make it out now that they have turned me down. The way everything has gone is not true Schalke style and it really makes you think.”
The Kicker article suggests that a major hurdle in talks was that Wilmots demanded equal say in club maters as general manager Horst Heldt, an equality which Heldt would have likely found as untenable. But according to the current Belgium boss, that wasn’t true.
“If I’d wanted to be there, I’d be there,” Wilmots told Belgian TV station VRT. “I do not want to leave the national team. I live for this challenge, particularly for the European Championship in 2016, I want to stay on. I’ve also let the [Belgium] players know today.”
The 46-year-old Belgian has steered the country to a #2 spot in the latest FIFA rankings, but they fell 1-0 to Wales on Friday in Euro 2016 qualification to fall three points behind their opponents into second place in the tight Group B standings.