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Kouyate unsure what future holds

Filed: Monday, 19th June 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate say that last season was the toughest the club had experienced for some considerable time - and that he is unsure what the future holds for him.

The experienced Senegal international, who was signed by Sam Allardyce in 2014 admitted that the 2016/17 campaign was his toughest since leaving Anderlecht to join the Hammers.

And when asked whether he was likely to remain at the Olympic Stadium for the forseeable future, Kouyate's reply was non-commital. "I do not know for the moment," he told Sen360FR. "I am on holiday and not taking care of certain things.

"Every player dreams of going as high as possible. There are certain things that are not said publicly. What counts is that at the resumption [of pre-season training], I will be with West Ham. The rest, I do not control."

Kouyate also revealed that the departure of Dimitri Payet played a major role in the team's indifferent form last season, despite reports suggesting the players were happy to see the French international leave.

"There have been many ups and downs this season,"he added. "This is the hardest we have seen in recent years, but luckily we have secured survival.

"We fought to stay in the Premier League. I have never experienced such a situation because it is harder to fight when you are at the bottom of the ladder. Before each game, we were obliged to keep one eye on the teams immediately below us [in the table].

"It was difficult especially after the departure of our star, Dimitri Payet. We had to put in place a different style of play because before all we played for him. Now we had to play as a team.

"His departure was of a family nature. It was difficult for him. He did not find the love he hoped for at the club and since the family sometimes decides, he did not hesitate.

"He preferred to go back to France. It is his choice that we respect. I spoke to him on the phone two days ago. He is happy and well. As for us, it took some time but in the end we clicked."

Kouyate also revealed that he had been unhappy at being asked to fill in at right back by Slaven Bilic - especially when a qualified full back was available. "We lost our right-hand side and some defenders who could evolve at that level," he recalled. "It was then that the coach asked me to help out.

"Initially, I was reluctant to complain when he told me it was just for a game. It was just after the African Cup. But after the third match, there was a defender available. Nevertheless, Bilic played me there me again.

"Not only did I lose my bearings, but I was not good on the field. I was stuck in my evolution. Even the coach realised this. I did not feel good, so I took my responsibilities to tell the coach that I could no longer continue [in that position]."

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