Memphis Depay does not believe the Manchester United fans saw the best of him during his 19 months at the club.
The Dutch forward, 24, scored seven goals in 53 appearances for United after joining them from PSV Eindhoven for £31m in June 2015.
In January 2017, he left to join Lyon, with whom he faces Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday.
“Everybody knows the story of me and Manchester United was not successful,” said the Netherlands international.
“Everybody can see that and I can feel it myself. I can look back and say I didn’t want it to go like that – nobody did – but things happened.
“After one season, I couldn’t find myself in the team. I was still young, didn’t get a lot of opportunities, but I must say that the first season I didn’t put the quality on the table that I thought.”
Since moving to France, Depay has scored 28 times in 74 appearances for Lyon, including an impressive 19 in 36 in Ligue 1 last season to help the club finish third and qualify for the Champions League.
‘He turned up wearing a leather jacket and cowboy hat’
At the weekend, one of Depay’s former United team-mates, Wayne Rooney, revealed a failed attempt to help the Dutchman ingratiate himself at the club.
“He came on at Stoke away and messed up for their goal so (manager) Louis van Gaal made him play for the reserves the next day,” said Rooney, who now plays for Major League Soccer franchise DC United.
“I said, ‘Look, it’s a bit difficult [for you]. Just don’t come in with all your fancy stuff.’
“And he turned up for the reserve game in his Rolls-Royce, wearing a leather jacket and a cowboy hat. And I just thought, ‘What’s the point?’
“But Memphis is a lovely lad and it’s good to see things going well for him now.”
Depay laughed off Rooney’s comments, insisting that he has learned from his experiences and is now much more mature.
“Some people can’t take a joke and me and Wayne are very good friends,” he said. “I understand what he meant with it and that’s it.
“It’s in the past and I’m a flamboyant guy and like nice stuff but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t be more smart. I’ve become more mature.
“You go through experiences in life on and off the pitch. When I came back today [to Manchester] I felt like a different person.
“I’m just happy that I’m the player I am today. I became a much better player. I can feel it in games and everyone can see it.
“For sure, the city is still red and we will try to get a good result against the Blues.”
Depay admitted, though, that he has not spoken to fellow Dutchman Van Gaal since leaving the club.
“I have seen Van Gaal at the testimonial game for Dirk Kuyt and we didn’t really speak about it,” he added.
“Certain things that happened I don’t want to say now in public, I don’t feel like it matters any more because… maybe when I write a book some day I will speak about it but for the moment, no.”
De Gea happy to be at United
One player who is making the most of his time at United is goalkeeper David de Gea, who says he feels “really loved” at Old Trafford.
The 27-year-old Spain international, who has established himself as one of the world’s best goalkeepers since joining from Atletico Madrid in 2011, has been United’s player of the year in four of the past five seasons.
“I feel really loved in this club – the fans, all the people who work for this club – so I’m really happy to be at this club,” said De Gea, who has regularly been linked with a move to Real Madrid.
“It’s one of the best clubs in the world so, for me, it’s really good to be part of this club.”
De Gea’s current deal expires next summer, with the option to extend it by another year.
United are also in Champions League action on Wednesday when they face Young Boys in Switzerland.