Nabil Bentaleb had a decent if unspectacular debut for Newcastle yesterday. However, for his first game since April, he fared pretty well and looks like he’ll be a substantial addition to the midfield.
Steve Bruce was happy enough with the 25-year-old’s shift against Oxford even if the overall team performance was unacceptable. This is what Bruce said about his new acquisition:
“Bentaleb did OK. It was his first game for months but he got through it.
“He tired at the end but we expected him to. He handles the ball well and he’ll be fine.
“It was a shame Lazaro couldn’t get done in time but he’ll give us another bit of quality in forward areas.”
Both Bentaleb and Valentino Lazaro will hopefully add extra quality to this Newcastle side. We saw yesterday a little bit of what Bentaleb will bring to the team.
However, Newcastle were screaming out for some quality in the final third yesterday. Considering the opposition, both Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron should have been far more effective.
Bentaleb was interviewed after his debut and his comments have been published at nufc.co.uk.
Here’s some of what the Algerian international had to say about his first game at St James Park.
“It was exciting to make my debut in front of this crazy crowd. I’ve missed this feeling and when I first entered the stadium, I saw this unbelievable atmosphere.
“It was a special feeling which brought back a lot of memories. I always loved playing in England, even when I left.
“I wanted to come back and now I am back and so pleased to be at a club such as Newcastle with some crazy fans like they have.
“They pushed us through the game today and, unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get the win but we will try to be better next time.
“I haven’t played for a long time so I was just focussing and getting ready to rumble. I prepared myself for a long time and I think I need to take it step by step to get back to 100 percent in terms of my quality.”
Bentaleb should continue to get better and shake of some of the rust that comes with not playing a competitive match for nine months. He also missed this past summer’s Africa Cup of Nations win for Algeria with an injury.
Nabil took to Twitter after the game yesterday with the following tweet.
— Nabil Bentaleb (@nabilbentaleb42) January 25, 2020
Now it’s on to next Saturday in a crucial match against last-placed Norwich City at St James Park. Newcastle need to put these past two poor performances behind them and get all three points next weekend.
Who Was Newcastle's Best Player Against Oxford?
- Karl Darlow (24%, 728 )
- Miguel Almiron (22%, 685 )
- Nabil Bentaleb (12%, 377 )
- Joelinton (11%, 337 )
- A. Saint-Maximin (9%, 283 )
- Matt Ritchie (8%, 255 )
- Jamaal Lascelles (4%, 109 )
- Fabian Schar (3%, 90 )
- Matty Longstaff (2%, 77 )
- Sean Longstaff (1%, 36 )
- DeAndre Yedlin (1%, 35 )
- Federico Ferndandez (1%, 32 )
- Isaac Hayden (1%, 31 )
- Christian Atsu (0%, 13 )
Total Voters: 3,088