Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that Shinji Kagawa’s form has “disappeared” in recent months, but is confident that the former Manchester United man will soon be back to his best.
Kagawa, 25, returned to Dortmund in August following two disappointing seasons at United, where he was unable to replicate the performances which saw him earn a £17 million move from the Bundesliga club in June 2012.
The Japan international has since struggled to make an impression in his 18 total appearances, however, recording just two goals and three assists, while also facing criticism in the German press for a perceived lack of effort.
Dortmund are going through their own struggles at present, sitting 14th in the league table with 14 points from 14 games, but Klopp believes his creative midfielder can help turn things around in the coming weeks, following an encouraging second-half performance in the 1-1 Champions League draw with Anderlecht in midweek.
"Shinji is no warrior in defence, that's for sure. But we didn't buy him to play centre-back," he told ESPN FC.
"He came from a, let's say, a not so fantastic situation from Manchester United, he started well when he got back to Dortmund, but now he isn't playing that great anymore.
"So it's possible that you disappear for a while. A lot of players return to form a little bit quicker.
"I mean, Kagawa's first half performance against Anderlecht wasn't good, but in the second half he improved.
"It's all about building and improving our quality as a team in the few training sessions we have over the next couple of weeks.
"But Kagawa has extraordinary skills. He hasn't lost them."