Marouane Fellaini is a lot like Marmite, you either love him or you hate him. A tall figure of a man whose looks resemble more of a 80’s king of the disco as opposed to footballer for one of the world’s most prestigious football clubs.
His goal in Manchester United’s Tuesday night EFL Cup win was his first goal under his new manager and apparent number one fan, Jose Mourinho.
Fellaini’s Manchester United future appeared to be in massive doubt only a few weeks ago when he managed to single handedly throw away two points at his old stomping ground, Goodison Park. You recall when he came on to close the game out but managed give away a clumsy penalty in the 5 or so minutes that he was given by his admiring manager? Pundits and Man United fans labelled the performance “pathetic” and “embarrassing,” as well as a number of other strong words that thou cannot mention. All this led to many people believing that there was no way back for the lanky Belgian.
But Jose Mourinho has other plans. Strange, weird and confusing plans that no other football fan quite understands. It’s either an extreme display of loyalty from Jose or a desperate plea to Fellaini to not leak whatever dirt that he must have on his boss.
Jose Mourinho is not only getting things right on the pitch at the moment, but his public relations and man management skills around Marouane Fellaini can only be described as miraculous. Dare I even say that on Tuesday night you could hear a small section of, maybe, three fans singing the Belgian’s name as he bounced and pranced his way in celebration towards a slightly confused looking Mourinho. The resulting bear hug is one of the most forceful my eyes have ever seen.
The fact is Marouane Fellaini poses an awkward proposition for any opposing team and, at times, his unpredictability and unorthodox movements on the pitch can sometimes be as much as gift as they are a curse. There’s never been any doubt about his strength or his trademark chest-down and lay-off to a teammate, nor any doubt that he is a banker on your ‘player to be carded’ bet on a weekend. Manchester United fans, like myself, only ask, that we don’t see the big man starting every game as our central midfield general. As strong as he is his touch, more often than not, resembles that of a curb. But I, along with many other United fans, have no qualms with seeing Fellaini coming on in the latter stages in a more advanced position doing what he does best and supplying the willing runners.
If Jose can keep using him correctly Fellaini could be having his name sung by the Stretford End faithful as a massive, tree-like, fan favourite come the end of a trophy winning season. Yeah, really.