Dimitri Payet on fan criticism: “You either love me or you hate me.”

In an interview published in today’s L’Équipe Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet has notably discussed his much-improved performances this season, having scored five goals this season already and thrived under Jorge Sampaoli.

The former West Ham United man has also reacted to criticism from certain sections of the OM fanbase, notably in the wake of the fan unrest last season that culminated in an ultras invasion of the training ground in January.

On whether the difference between this season’s Payet and last season’s is the joy he gets from playing

That’s the basics. Last season, we were playing under a difficult context up until the training ground invasion. After everything I’d gone through at this club, we had managed the feat of doing even worse [ironic].

On criticism from the leader of the Winners ultra group after the training centre break-in last season

You should ask him the same question today, and see if his reply is the same. But that’s part of the excitement of playing for Marseille. Everytime, I tell myself that I’m going to make people lie. That’s what I told the supporters when I met them a few weeks after the incidents. It’s true that I wasn’t in the best of form, but I can guarantee you that I am working to get back to it. Either way, I don’t do half-measures. You either love me or hate me.

On adapting to Jorge Sampaoli’s style

At the start, it was a bit repetitive at training because we had to immerse ourselves with in what he wanted. We had to do it again at the start of the season because the squad had almost completely changed.

On the difference between Sampaoli and Marcelo Bielsa

It’s different. With Bielsa, we had to do the drills, the sessions in a certain way and not in another. We had to carry out the instructions and most importantly not question it. There’s more dialogue with Sampaoli. He is closer to the players, he even jokes with us sometimes. We can speak to each other. If the senior players think that something needs correcting, he knows how to listen.

On the signing which has impressed him the most

The new players have all brought something different to the table. But I am closer to the young players. The one who’s impressed me the most is Willie [William Saliba]. Considering how he’s done since the start of the season, I dont understand how he hasn’t played more with Arsenal.

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