Manchester United’s last-gasp victory over Hull City last weekend was a wonderful example of the progress that the club have made under Jose Mourinho. The second half at the KC Stadium was a siege, with United peppering the Tigers’ goal with shots before Wayne Rooney found Marcus Rashford in injury time to seal a dramatic late win.
The only downside to the evening came after the match, with Jose Mourinho advising that Maroaune Fellaini had suffered a ‘bad’ back injury. The fact that an injury to the Belgian is being treated as negative news shows how far the former-Everton man has become in the eyes of United fans recently, who would have welcomed his absence under Louis van Gaal last season.
Yet Fellaini has enjoyed something of a rebirth under the Portuguese manager. No longer the battering ram, or long-ball target that he was often utilised as, Fellaini has so far been used as part of Mourinho’s midfield duo, pairing up with Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba in the Premier League thus far. It’s reaped dividends too; Fellaini has been sitting back and allowing those in front of him to dictate the attack, and has done an exceptional job of shutting down possession for United’s opponents. He often broke up Hull City’s attempts to attack last weekend when the Red Devils were out of possession, and has been mostly disciplined and made good use of possession when it’s come his way.
As such, when Mourinho broke the news that the Belgian international might be out for some time, it was the only slightly sour aspect of the evening. Whilst Morgan Schneiderlin was hoping to get a shot in the first-team in his place, the Express are reporting that Fellaini could be available for United as early as Saturday’s Manchester derby. Despite having missed Roberto Martinez’s first game as Belgium manager last week (a 2-0 defeat to Spain), Fellaini has apparently been training fully with no ill-effects to the aforementioned injury, and may even play a part in his country’s match with Cyprus on Monday evening.
Whilst it’s tough to say that United fans would have been experiencing restless nights in the lead-up to Saturday’s game with City had Fellaini been ruled out, given that Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick are all available and ready, it’s good to hear that the Belgian may potentially be available. His form so far this season has been a most pleasant surprise, and long may it continue.