Al Nasr star Saleh wants to continue good work that earned him UAE comeback

Matt Jones - Editor 22:42 01/07/2016
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  • Salem Saleh is happy at Al Nasr and wants to enjoy more success.

    The 25-year-old forward made 32 appearances in total for the Blue Wave last season after a summer switch from Al Wahda.

    Saleh scored six goals for Ivan Jovanovic’s side, three of which came over a thrilling two-legged tie with Iran’s Tractor Sazi in May which saw the Dubai club progress to the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League for the first time in their history following a 5-4 aggregate win.

    A fine season for Saleh saw form rewarded with a call-up to Mahdi Ali’s UAE squad in March for World Cup qualifiers with Palestine and Saudi Arabia.

    Saleh signed a two-year deal a year ago and will be free to talk to other clubs in January but he has revealed he is happy at the club and is eying more success with both Nasr and the national team.

    “The season I have spent with Al Nasr has been the most remarkable of my career, but I am still looking forward to offering more for the blue jersey,” Saleh told Al Ittihad.

    “I look forward to offering more, because I still I have a lot that I am trying to do for my team and the national team.

    “We have big challenges, especially in the Champions League after qualifying for the quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s history. The players’ confidence is very high but we have to move above the roof of our ambitions.

    “The team’s success in the tournament has added a lot to the team as a group and individuals, which will have a good impact on the next phase of the tournament and the new season in general.”

    Retaining his place in Ali’s squad is also vitally important to Saleh.

    He netted twice for the Whites on his comeback to the team after a 14-month absence in a 6-1 friendly thrashing of Bangladesh in March.

    It was his first appearance for the UAE since they beat Iraq 3-2 to claim a marvellous third-place finish at the 2015 Asian Cup, and Saleh admits he is determined to be part of just the second squad from the Emirates to make a World Cup finals.

    “Next season is a special one, full of important challenges on a personal level,” he said.

    “The national team has a big challenge and we are in a critical period of the qualifiers to get to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    “The focus of everyone is the dream of qualifying for the second time in our history, and we are confident of our ability to achieve this dream. We have to work hard and focus. The task is not easy but it is not impossible.”