The boos and sarcastic cheers from the Stretford End were finally transformed into applause when Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini walked off the pitch yesterday, after having scored a brilliant brace in the Red Devils’ 4-0 triumph over Crystal Palace.
Once regarded as a villain at Old Trafford, Fellaini has now become a hero for the fans following a number of sublime performances over the past few months.
The Belgian was brought in by former boss David Moyes for £27.5 million from Everton on deadline day in 2013. But things didn’t turn out the way the 29-year-old would have imagined, as he was ridiculed and mocked for the majority of his time at the club, until now.
There was a wide speculation that the midfielder would be shown the exit doors after United signed Jose Mourinho as club manager last season. However, the Portuguese assured Fellaini shortly after his appointment that he wouldn’t be sold, and that marked the moment for the player’s resurgence.
The ex-Everton star has rebuilt his career under Mourinho this campaign, and the United boss believes that Fellaini’s ‘strong character’ has helped him do so.
Mourinho stated: “I think only a strong character could resist the difficulties here. He had some difficult times when people didn’t recognize his qualities, when other managers didn’t like so much the qualities he has.
“He had to be a strong character. He is a fighter, a guy with lots of pride and I am really pleased I helped him reach this level and change the perception the fans have now. I’m really happy for him.
“I think Marouane has important qualities and I try to use them depending on the situation and what they team needs. He plays with me as a defensive midfielder, as a second striker, as one of two midfielders. He is a great player. A great character.”
Written by Sidharth Jindal
Sports fanatic with a passion for writing (predominantly football) and “Wants to live life to its fullest.” Writes about the Premier League on his personal blog.