Suat Serdar: We have a young squad with a lot of potential
With seven goals, Suat Serdar is Schalke’s top goalscorer this season – and yet, he still has to endure some occasional teasing from Amine Harit. In an interview with schalke04.de, the 22-year-old speaks about his lethal finishing, the development of Schalke’s young squad and why the team can take something from the match against Bayern.
Suat, you had to be taken off against Mönchengladbach after suffering a knock to the calf. How are you feeling, and are you fit for the match on Saturday?
I’m feeling great, and will return to team training soon. Then, I’ll be ready for the match against Bayern.
Nearly a year ago you said that you wanted to become more clinical in front of goal. You now have seven goals to your name – a team-high. What are the reasons behind you becoming a bigger threat in front of goal?
That’s true, I had set the aim of being more dangerous in front of goal, something I’ve been able to do quite well so far. But, I didn’t allow other equally important things to fall to the wayside, such as working to win back the ball. My teammates have been able to create several chances for me this season, which I’ve taken advantage of.
Do you and Amine Harit have an internal competition going to see which midfielder can score the most goals this season?
No, we don’t. Although Amine keeps reminding me that I don’t have any assists this season, apart from in the DFB-Pokal (laughs).
You look even more dynamic on the pitch now than you did last season.
You can see that I’ve become a lot quicker and more determined. I worked hard on that during pre-season in the summer and I’m pleased that I’ve been able to bring that to my games.
My teammates have been able to create several chances for me this season, which I’ve taken advantage of
You mainly play on the left side of the diamond. How much do you enjoy playing in this formation?
I like to play more central as well, but I know the left wing well from my time in Mainz as well. I have a lot more room up front on the left side, which is beneficial if I want to continue being a threat in front of goal.
You were recently voted as December’s Player of the Month by the fans. What does that mean to you?
It’s a great honour and I’m proud that the fans chose me. First and foremost, I want to be an important part of the team. But, of course, I’d also be happy if I were selected as the Player of the Month again sometime.
You can see that the team has improved after every game. What are some areas you think the team has the potential to get better in?
If you look at our starting XI, you can see that we have a very young squad. Of course there are things that we can improve on. In comparison to last season, we’ve taken an enormous step forward in our development. We need to continue being clever in the closing minutes of matches, something we didn’t do against both Köln and Düsseldorf, for example. We learned from these mistakes. We have a young squad with a lot of potential.
In comparison to last season, we’ve taken an enormous step forward in our development
We’re currently in fifth and aren’t far off from the teams above us. What can we take from this season?
I like to take it game-by-game, but okay. If you find yourself near the top, then that’s where you want to stay. If we keep playing the way we have been, then it’s entirely possible that we finish on a European place. We need to give it our all in every game and want to take those three points. If we do that, then we’ll be able to achieve that goal. I’m certain that everyone in the team wants to play in Europe next season.
We face Bayern on Saturday, and we don’t have the best record against them in recent years. Why will we be able to take something from this match?
We’re not under any pressure. When you play at Bayern, you have nothing to lose. If we keep playing the way we did before the winter break and the way we did against Gladbach last weekend, then anything is possible. What’s that saying? A game is only 90 minutes long.
It’s still a while to go until the EUROs, but how often are you thinking about this tournament?
Currently, I’m not thinking so much about it, as I’m focused on Schalke. We have more international fixtures in March, which is when that topic will become more interesting. If I continue playing like I have been, then I’ve done my job. Then we will have to wait and see what the head coach decides.