August 11, 2017
There has always been something that has kept me away from the idea of liking Marouane Fellaini as a player. Probably his story spoke for him louder than his work on the pitch and that affected my opinion on him. In my defence, he did have a terrible season under David Moyes and two average ones under the managerial regime of Louis van Gaal. When I finally thought that United would get rid of Fellaini, Jose Mourinho kept trusting the Belgian and I was left in shock. Mind you I arrived at the state thinking that he had cast a spell on the manager as there was no chance that a player like him would still be used. Apparently, I was taught an important lesson which is basic in football but I refused to hear due to Fellaini. You always have an extra thing in your pocket, a plan B you always need. Sometimes that plan can easily the plan A, however, you never forget that keeping in mind that you have support is never a bad thing.
What does the above discussion have to do with Manchester United and Marouane Fellaini? Last season we suffered from the lack of choices we have had in several positions that have cost United many points; good alternatives that can be game changing points late in the game. We are not speaking of the ‘Baby Faced Assasin’ type of substitute, but someone who can have an impact is truly needed. Remember those 1 – 0 results that were immediately ruined by a late equalizer; that was the way we lost many points at home last season. Why Fellaini? It feels awkward to me as well but Jose Mourinho has a point on trusting him.
It isn’t just his height but the fact that he can lead in some really good moments. He did it a few times and I was refusing to see the big thing going. His height helps him winning the aerial duels and physics is perfect for a league like the Premier League. On the other hand, Fellaini may not be highly skilled but credit where it’s due, he has worked really hard and Jose loves this. I do have my doubts if he should start a game from the beginning, but there’s nothing wrong if he could enter the game in tough minutes. It has been one of those times when I have shouted: ‘Why him?’, but I have been learned to not write someone off just yet. We don’t have to go far to see such a thing. Against Real Madrid, United’s midfield was completely outplayed and it did seem that Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba weren’t clicking together as the Spaniard has fitness issues, so a replacement was needed. Who better than Fellaini, for Mourinho? I was upset, but the midfield started to breathe under his watch and both Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba were moving quickly and much better. United were better in duels won and produced more chances.
That’s exactly what it was needed and because we lost we didn’t seem to appreciate it much, but why judge the player when he actually made us a better team? Luckily I had that question answered. It is all on the reputation you build or the way you are targeted by the media. In English football, you cannot avoid these, so Fellaini may have suffered from this as well. Becoming a target of our constant mistakes, we forgot the moments he has been key. Key in semi finals, key in the finals, that is how you make an impact. Reluctant to accept it at first, but I do think that he could give a wakeup call to the rest and manage to work it out. Football isn’t just about talent is about hard work as well. If Mourinho trusted him throughout all of this then he has something special.
Looking at the bench there’s no one who could put a stop sign in that midfield and do very well. It won’t be easy to accept it, but Fellaini is a man we can trust as he did well in key moments last season and did so again in the UEFA Super Cup. If that’s the case then YES, everyone can call us crazy but Fellaini would be one hell of a good choice when everything seems lost. Hard to believe but I just said that. These doubts have been stuck in my head for a while now, but Tuesday made it all clear and I am actually glad. Not a fan favourite but has always been there.