Yesterday Manchester United overcame Hull City 1-0 thanks to a last-gasp winner courtesy of youngster Marcus Rashford who was making his first Premier League appearance of the season. However, Jose Mourinho has to be the bearer of bad news after the match when he announced that midfielder Marouane Fellaini picked up an injury during the match.
United dominated the game, having 62% possession as Marouane Fellaini proved his worth yet again as he lined up alongside the most expensive player in the world Paul Pogba in the centre of midfield. Fellaini had yet another impressive game under Jose Mourinho and his performances are unrecognisable compared to the sorts we usually saw from the Belgian under former managers Louis van Gaal and the man who signed him from Everton; David Moyes. Mourinho praised Fellaini for his performance, especially the influence he had on the defence on the odd opportunity that Hull had to attack the back line:
“Marouane is a special guy for us in our defensive work.”
Fellaini certainly was impressive for The Red Devils yesterday, winning five aerial duels with a 100% success rate, his height and seeming inability to have an influence on the game in the air had become a source of ridicule in previous seasons, however, he is going about proving the doubters wrong and performances like those he has already demonstrated this season prove that he is on the right track to doing this. Fellaini also made five interceptions and one clearance, as he looks to be mastering the holding midfield role, giving Eric Bailly, Daley Blind and David De Gea a relatively quiet game again. But in a twist of fate, just as soon as Fellaini begins to justify his price tag and win over the fans ‘The Special One’ announced to the media post-match that Fellaini had picked up an injury.
“He has an injury in his back. It’s not good.”
For the first time in years the injury of Marouane Fellaini looks like it could have a negative influence on the United squad, as he has proved to be a pivotal player for United thus far under Mourinho, and if the injury is serious it could disrupt the rhythm of the team ahead of the biggest game so far this season, the Manchester Derby against Pep Guardiola’s team. Saying this though Mourinho certainly has a wealth of options who are able to step into the side and partner Pogba in the middle of the pitch should Fellaini face a prolonged spell on the sideline with the likes of Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick all ready to step into the starting XI.
Despite all of this let me offer you an alternative perspective on Fellaini’s injury. The Belgian has proved himself to be an important player so far under Mourinho, and has featured in 6 games in a row now for United, and all of this after representing his country at Euro 2016, this means that Fellaini hasn’t exactly had much of a rest and may be suffering from fatigue, so Mourinho decided that it would be best for Fellaini to rest during the International break and not risk being injured before the derby. When Mourinho was in charge of Chelsea both Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas withdrew from the Spanish national squad due to injuries, yet the duo played for Chelsea in the games just before and after the break. This kept the two players fresh as they were catalysts to Chelsea lifting the Premier League at the end of the season. Has Mourinho done something similar here with Fellaini? Only time will tell, but if he truly is injured then he will surely be a big miss for United.