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Report: Ihattaren ‘never wanted to leave The Netherlands’

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Mohamed Ihattaren regrets leaving his old club PSV Eindhoven, he told the Telegraaf in the second part of his interview. He talks about the frustrations he experienced with coach Roger Schmidt and why he decided to leave the Dutch club on transfer deadline day to join Juventus.

“I never wanted to leave The Netherlands”, Ihattaren said. He’d agreed the terms of his contract extension at PSV Eindhoven, but waited to sign, because he wasn’t being played by coach Roger Schmidt. Ihattaren didn’t have the best relationship with Schmidt, as Max Statman already reported when Juventus signed him.

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Ihattaren points out a couple examples. He was subbed off after 81 minutes against Ajax in the Dutch cup (2-1 loss). “In the bus I heard that Schmidt had after the match said that everyone thought I was Messi and he didn’t think I was that good at all. While I was one of the few that showed some guts and dared to play football. That was the last straw for me after everything that had happened beforehand. The next day I arrived late on purpose. Not good, but I thought that would be the way to get him to talk with me. Did he come? No. He reported it to director John de Jong.”

Struggling with system

There was more irritation. “Some boys for example always had to play. If I trained for two weeks and someone like that came back from an injury and trained on Friday, he would start on Saturday. Then I won’t keep my mouth shut? I know what worth I can and I want to feel that confidence from his side.”

Schmidt’s formation and style didn’t suit Ihattaren. “We played in a 4-2-2-2 system where everyone ran into each other, the passing lines weren’t right and for instance, in my position you always had to give the ball to the back. I just want to speak for myself. Maybe it’s my problem that I don’t feel good with that. At a given moment the defenders also had to take the penalties”, Ihattaren said.

Celebrating with Schmidt

The Dutchman had made earlier attempts to fix their relationship. When he scored against FC Utrecht, the team that’s now interested in him, he went to celebrate with his coach. “I had thought about it, wanted to show that we were going to make it a success together after all. Afterwards he acted strange again, it seemed like he didn’t accept it.”

Ihattaren celebrates with Schmidt (4:30-5:00)

The death of his father is often mentioned in the stories Ihattaren has read. “I miss him every day, but I don’t want to hide behind that at all. I do know for sure he would have never aloud me to leave PSV. He would have said: you’re at least staying as long as Schmidt is there. I even regret that I left PSV. That I let Schmidt drive me away. Yes, that’s how I see it.”

Ihattaren says he’ll always have respect for Schmidt and emphasises that he isn’t the man to only point towards others multiple times. Nobody who followed PSV or the eredivisie at the time would have believed that their starboy would leave on transfer deadline day for €1.9M. “I just want to play football. Give me the ball and pleasure. Then the best comes out.”

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Jurre van Wanrooij is a writer and lead match analyst for Max Statman. He was born and raised in The Netherlands, where he still lives. He is studying journalism and that’s why he joined Max Statman, so that he could develop his writing. Apart from Juventus, he also support PSV Eindhoven, the club closest to his home. The goal is to give you guys the best information about Juventus in English and be as reliable as possible.