Matija Nastasic: The game against St. Petersburg is the perfect preparation

Matija Nastasic looks towards the upcoming friendly against the Russian league-leaders Zenit St. Petersburg. The centre-back spoke to Schalke04.de about the sporting situation, the injury-fuelled problems of Mark Uth and Breel Embolo and gives reasons as to why the side are having a more successful Champions League campaign than Bundesliga.

Matija, Schalke find themselves in 14th place in the Bundesliga. What do you make of the situation?

We had a poor start to the season with five consecutive losses. It’s hard to come back from that. In the last few games we’ve been markedly better, but not at the same level as we were in preseason. I am confident that we can play better in the coming weeks. We aren’t happy with our current position in the table. A team like Schalke should be higher in the table – and we will do everything we can to climb up higher in the league.

“All players are motivated to better themselves and work hard.”

Matija Nastasic

You guys were having a good run of games and then you lost to Frankfurt. What was your assessment of the game?

The first half of the game was very well balanced. In the second half we lost our aggression and, especially after we conceded, we lost control of the game. That’s already happened season too many times and we need to change that. After the game the atmosphere wasn’t good, especially considering we felt so great after the win against Galatasaray. All of the players are motivated to better themselves and work hard. As a result I am certain that we will bounce back from the situation we’re in at the moment.

What do you need to improve on in the next game?

There are many aspects of our game that we can improve. After our bad start to the season we have improved but we need to be consistent and also win games in order to reach our goals. We don’t score enough goals but that is not only the striker’s fault. The whole team has to work hard to create chances.

Mark Uth and Breel Embolo ruled out through injury. How bad will it be for the team?

Two important players getting injured in one match. That is a blow. However, we have a big squad and other players who are ready to show what they can do on the pitch. I wish Mark and Breel a quick recovery and hope that they will return to the pitch as quick as possible.

You are in a good position in the Champions League but not in the Bundesliga. Why do you think this is the case?

In the Champions League so far, we have been able to score in the right times during the games. It is always easier if you score the first goal, for example against Galatasaray. We try, regardless of the competition, to put in the same performance and I hope that the results will improve.

On Sunday you will play in a friendly against St. Petersburg. What do you expect from this game?

We will face a strong opponent in St. Petersburg. We want to put in a good performance because we lost our most recent Bundesliga game. It will be the perfect preparation for the game next week.

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