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10th Mar 2017

Dimitri Payet reveals the moment he knew he had to leave West Ham

He felt he was in danger of going backwards.

Tom Victor

Even in a struggling side, Dimitri Payet showed some real quality this season.

His standing as the top chance-creator in the Premier League only came to an end last weekend, despite the French international playing his last Premier League game for West Ham United on January 2.

And Payet, who has scored twice for Olympique de Marseille since rejoining his former club, has admitted the Irons’ increasingly defensive set-up – and one game in particular – played a big part in him pushing for a move back to Ligue 1.

“The defensive system that we put in place did not give me any pleasure,” Payet told L’Équipe, as translated by Goal.

“You could say that I was pissed off, yes. I worked hard in every game without taking any pleasure.”

The 29-year-old cited the 1-0 victory over Hull City in December – one of many underwhelming West Ham performances since the move to the London Stadium – as the match which made him realise he was at risk of regressing as a player.

“In the changing room, everyone was happy, but our man of the match was the post,” Payet said.

“I told myself that I could not improve there. On the contrary, I risked going backwards. I needed another challenge.”

Since last season’s Player of the Year made his final appearance in claret and blue – in the FA Cup third round defeat to Manchester City – the club have moved away from the Premier League’s danger zone.

They have picked up 11 points from their last seven games to increase the gap between them and the bottom three, and currently sit 11th in the table.

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