In the latest European Champions League match, Marouane Fellaini scored in the last minute of the game against Young Boys which ended up in a victory. The goal was to ensure that Manchester United was qualified for the big 16 matches, which will be held in February. In the previous match against Juventus, the touch of Fellaini’s hair resulted in an own Juventus goal, which made United steal a victory in Turin.
Fellaini often determines United’s victory at the end of the match. How come a player who can only use his height can be very useful for the Red Devils?
The series of Fellaini’s influences did not take place only this season. For example, in Louis van Gaal’s final year, Fellaini scored the only goal in the semi-final match against his club, Everton. This goal proved to be influential in getting the United’s trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
In the following season, which was Jose Mourinho’s first season behind the wheel of Old Trafford, he ended the season by taking the Europa League. In the semifinals, Fellaini, again, determined United’s breakthrough when heading Fellaini’s ball against Celta Vigo at Old Trafford.
At the beginning of his appearance at the Dream Theater, Fellaini was often identified as David Moyes’s big failure. The manager who only lasted for 10 months at United was the person responsible for bringing in a frivolous player in the summer of 2013. His arrival was often seen as a panic purchase considering that he was the only United’s purchase at the time, even in last days during the transfer market.
How did his fate change to become a hero? Everything happened not only due to his commitment and ability which were indeed, unique. It could be said that he was helped a lot by the way the trainers used it. Both Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho were aware that Fellaini was not a midfielder who was awarded by magical abilities yet, the coaches knew that Fellaini could be very effective when he was asked to give a response to certain situations.
Moyes had first found his best position at Everton. That was putting Fellaini as the second striker behind Tim Cahill. While Cahill could play with his feet, Fellaini could be dominant in the air. For Manchester United, the club that has shown so many attractive football matches since the Ferguson era, such a player likes Fellaini was clearly incompatible.
But everything has changed since Louis van Gaal played negatively in football and feed a lot of hulls at the end of the 2014/15 season when United faced Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City, and Chelsea. In that phase, United played well with two main components: Ashley Young on the left wing (he got rid of Angel di Maria) and Marouane Fellaini in the penalty box. As a result, United won the three matches, with Fellaini shining in each of the matches.
Fellaini’s skyrocketing performance confirms one thing: his match situation benefits him. He likes the direct approach and tends to be unable to play with beauty. He is not attractive like most other attacking midfielders on earth, but he really uses his body.
When Jose Mourinho entered in 2016, it assumed that Fellaini would be wasted. However, people forgot that Mourinho was a coach who glorifies results and ignores beauty. The pattern displayed by United has never been beautiful under Mourinho but it fits perfectly with Fellaini’s style of play. If not being installed as a starter, Fellaini can be more dangerous than Messi or Ronaldo even if he has been put in the penalty box in the last ten minutes of the game.
Both Van Gaal and Mourinho tuned in with Fellaini. Fellaini once celebrated the goal by hugging Mourinho which somehow showing his gratitude towards the coach for continuing to believe in him.
Like the legend of the Phoenix which awoke from the dead through his ashes, Fellaini could be said as being alive again after undergoing a gray season with David Moyes.