Kenny Saief was in a tough situation when he joined Polish side Lechia Gdansk on-loan earlier this year and one that didn’t look like it was going to get any better.
Saief joined the club in February after failing to make an impact back with his parent club Anderlecht and immediately found it tough. The midfielder had to make the most of time off the bench in his first four appearances with Gdansk, before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a lengthy break to the Ekstraklasa season.
Fast forward to June and Saief is reaping the rewards of the break. This month has seen Saief score his first goal and register his first assist for the club, making three starts out of his past four appearances. It’s been a positive step for the 25-year-old who reflected on his recent game-winning goal against Pogon Szczecin.
“It was a very important victory and a good start in the championship group competition,” Saief said. “I hope that we will go this way and get enough points to finish the league in a position that guarantees performances in European cups.”
“Finally, I started playing, and I’m getting better from week to week. I am not entirely satisfied with my attitude in Szczecin, but I am happy to score the goal that gave us the victory.”
For any loan player, it’s always going to be tough to make an immediate impact, especially with contracted players likely to get the first crack at minutes. Saief was no different despite having positive appearances in past seasons for Anderlecht and Gent.
After having to wait for his turn, the skillful player has played in the club’s first six matches back in action, helping them them to a three-match unbeaten run. Saief has credited the hard work he put in during the break for his recent performances and admits there is more time to impress this season.
“The break in the season was good for me,” Saief said. “I sacrificed time to work on myself to get my highest level. I still have work to do, but the good news is I have just started playing.”
Gdansk has five matches remaining in the season as well as a semifinal showdown with Lech Poznan in the Puchar Polski (equivalent to England’s FA Cup). They are fifth in the Championship group after this week’s win over Piast Gliwice and are now four points from the final Europa League qualification spot.
Saief’s next chance to add to his totals comes on June 28th on the road at Jagiellonia Bialystok.