By 90Min
June 08, 2019

Former Manchester United forward Memphis Depay has explained what went wrong for him during an 18-month spell at Old Trafford, claiming that at times he even "lost the joy in playing football" following a high-profile move to the club.

Depay's standout performances with the national team and with PSV Eindhoven saw him secure a £30m to Manchester United in 2015, but after struggling to make an impact the club cut their losses, offloading him for just £14m in January 2017.

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"I lost myself in Manchester. That was the real heart of the matter. It took me a few years to realise that," Depay writes in his new book The Heart of a Lion, quoted by the Manchester Evening News

"During my time in Manchester I blamed everybody: [Louis] van Gaal, [José] Mourinho, I felt like the whole world was against me. But I didn’t blame myself. That’s not how it works in life.

"It was very frustrating I didn’t reach my usual level. 

"I had to follow the tactical orders of Van Gaal, otherwise I would certainly lose my spot in the team. Van Gaal doesn’t like players who don’t follow up on his comments.

"Meanwhile, I knew I couldn’t get the best out of my play this way: staying on the left side of the field, running back and forth. 

"I didn’t understand: you buy me because of my specific qualities you saw at PSV and the Dutch national team. After that you put me in a role where I can’t play that way anymore. For me that was confusing."

Depay went on to explain how things didn't improve when Mourinho was brought in to Manchester United, adding that the likes of Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Michael Carrick all questioned why the Dutchman wasn't given a chance to impress.

"During that time I lost it," he added. "After training, I went home and didn’t want to see anybody. That was mentally a very bad period. And it got worse every day.

OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

"For the first time, I lost the joy in playing football. The most beautiful thing in my whole life, football, gave me a very sad feeling. The frustration grew by the day and I didn’t know how to change that."

Since leaving the club, Depay has gone on to establish himself as one of European football's biggest talents, something which many had predicted he would become when he was breaking through at PSV Eindhoven.

In 116 appearances for Lyon, Depay has been directly involved in 80 goals for the club.

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