Matthijs de Ligt has admitted that the sense of invincibility that he enjoyed at Ajax has disappeared since he moved to Juventus in the summer.
The 20-year-old centre-back became a target for the game’s biggest clubs last season with a series of sparkling performances for the Amsterdam side, who reached the Champions League semi-finals and came within seconds of reaching the showpiece before late heartbreak against Tottenham.
Nevertheless, De Ligt was the subject of a bidding war, with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain among the teams ultimately beaten off for him by Juventus, who paid €85 million (£74m/$94m) including bonuses to prise him from his homeland.
Since moving to Italy, however, the young defender has struggled to show the same form that he displayed at his hometown side.
“At Ajax, I felt invincible, today it’s different,” he told Fox Sports. “But I think it’s normal because everything is new for me. I’m progressing and I’m not worried.
“I don’t know myself why I’m not playing as well as I’d like. All I can do is continue to work, to do my best and to try to learn from my team-mates.
“I play and that’s the main thing because, in the end, I’m sure that everything will go well and this season will be positive.”
There were rumours earlier in the month that Juve boss Maurizio Sarri had put him on a carb-free diet in a bid to control his weight, and once again the Netherlands star laughed off such reports.
“It’s not a physical problem,” he said.
De Ligt has played seven times for Juve since moving to Turin in the summer, playing the duration of all but two of the club’s games.
Despite worries over his form, Juventus have moved into their familiar position at the summit of Serie A thanks to a 2-1 victory over Inter before the international break. Moreover, they have made a satisfactory start in the Champions League, picking up four points from a trip to Atletico Madrid and a home game against Bayer Leverkusen, who they defeated 3-0 on October 1.
Juve return to action on Saturday with a home match against Bologna before hosting Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League.