Nabil Bentaleb: Pain-free and fully fit

It has been a picture-perfect winter training camp in Benidorm for Nabil Bentaleb. Having overcome a pubic bone inflammation, the Algerian can now take part in all the team training sessions and sees himself back at 100 percent already. The midfielder spoke to schalke04.de about his time on the sideline during the first half of the season, his competition within the squad and the first game back against Leipzig.

Nabil Bentaleb

Nabil Bentaleb on …

…his return to team training:
After such a long time out it is great to be training with the boys again. I really missed it. I’m not experiencing any problems at all now and I’ve been able to complete all the sessions. The injury is also no longer a psychological concern and my fitness levels are actually better than before the season. That shows how hard I’ve been working in recovery training.

…his time away from football:
It was frustrating for me not being able to help the team on the pitch. I wanted to, but I couldn’t. Thankfully that’s all in the past now, I’m optimistic about what is to come and I feel very well. Crossing my fingers from the stands definitely paid off; the boys have had a fantastic season so far. Now I want to contribute towards continuing this.

I always want to play, regardless of when or who against.

Nabil Bentaleb

…the current table:
The boss always says not to look at the table. Many teams before us have spent Christmas in second and then plummeted. The Bundesliga is very balanced; we are only a few points ahead of tenth place, so we have to take it one game at a time, as we have been doing all season. Often, the difference between winning and losing has come down to tiny differences. We cannot let up, we need to stay focused, then we’ll get our reward.

…the first game back against Leipzig:
My aim is to be on the pitch for this game, but that’s the same for every game. I always want to play, regardless of when or who against. That’s no different for any of my teammates, though; the final decision rests with the manager.

…competition within the squad:
We have a lot of very good players fighting for a place in the starting XI. In my opinion, we all benefit from that, because we push each other and no one can afford to drop a gear.

…his style of play:
Sometimes it must look risky, but I know exactly what I’m doing. I don’t take things easy, I follow my instinct and the manager encourages this. Obviously I make the odd mistake in the process, that happens in football, it’s part of the game.

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