Dimitri Payet has spoken out about his decision to force a move away from West Ham in January, citing Slaven Bilic’s ‘defensive system’ and the risk of him ‘regressing’ as the reasons for his frustration.
West Ham manager Bilic confirmed in a press conference on January 12 that the French international was refusing to play for the club, and although the Croat made it clear that the 29-year-old was not for sale, he ended up returning to Marseille for £25 million during the transfer window.
And now Payet has had his say about why he decided that he needed to leave the club in January.
He told French newspaper L’Equipe (via The Guardian): ‘I had no desire to play in the lower reaches of the Premier League.
‘The defensive system that we put in place did not give me any pleasure. You could say I was bored.
‘With West Ham at home against Hull, we won 1-0 and they hit the post four times. In the changing room everyone was happy, but the man of the match that day was the post. I thought that I would not have room for improvement. On the contrary, I risked regressing.
‘I needed another challenge.’
Payet had a stellar first season in the Premier League last time out, netting nine goals and laying on 12 assists to help West Ham finish seventh in the top-flight, their highest league position since returning to the Premier League in 2012.
He even started this campaign reasonably well, laying on six assists and bagging two goals for the Hammers, but has clearly enjoyed his return to Marseille, whom he left to join West Ham back in 2015.
Payet has scored two goals in six appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit, including the second in their 4-1 win over Lorient on Sunday.