Bentaleb: Schalke need a ‘better start’

Nabil Bentaleb enjoyed a successful first season at FC Schalke 04, but believes that an overall improvement is essential for the Bundesliga outfit.

The Algeria international spent the entire 2016/17 season at Schalke on loan from Tottenham Hotspur and was officially signed by Domenico Tedesco in July, with a transfer fee of €19m having been agreed in January.

The 22-year old central midfielder, who wasted no time in establishing himself as one of the German club’s top players last season, spoke to the club’s official website about his aspirations for the upcoming Bundesliga campaign.

“Personally, I think it’s been great,” he said when asked how he has enjoyed his time at the club. “Of course, it would have been better to have finished higher in the table last season.

“We had a few good phases but unfortunately we had some bad ones too. Now, we’re about to start a new season and we’re all looking forward to finally getting underway,” he added.

Schalke open their league campaign with a home game against last season’s surprise package RB Leipzig, who stunned the footballing world by finishing in second place despite making their Bundesliga debut.

“Last season, we saw that Leipzig can play good football so it’ll be a difficult game,” Bentaleb said of the fixture. “However, I’m excited to get started against a tough opponent.

“It’ll be a really good test for us. We need to start the season better than last time and we’ve worked hard in preseason to ensure that’s the case,” he added.