With Manchester United’s return leg of the Europa League quarter final against Anderlecht on Thursday evening, it’s no surprise the Belgian media are all about Marouane Fellaini.
The Belgium international, while not always the most loved footballer on the pitch at Old Trafford, is a big star in his home country, serving his national team well over the years.
While criticism of his performances is sometimes fair, some fans appear to use the 27-year-old as a constant scapegoat, even leading to boos, as was the case against Tottenham earlier on in the season.
Coming on the previous week late in a tight game against Everton, Fellaini was unfortunate to give away a last minute penalty, costing his side the three points.
About the incident, he told Sport/Foot: “I came in, I wasn’t feeling great. I had just come back from injury, and I was late on the penalty incident, but I’ve been in football for the past 11 years, and when I come on, it’s to help the team.
“I put a tackle in, I run right, left, I’m not a cheat. Others would have come on for the last two minutes and tried to hide, wouldn’t even have attempted to get the ball back.”
The following week against Mauricio Pochettino, the Belgian midfielder once again came off the bench, only to be greeted by boos and jeers by some of the home fans.
Asked how he felt about this, Fellaini said: “Honestly, I just smiled. I told myself it was rubbish: real fans don’t boo their own players. After that, the manager dedicated the win to me. The players too. When I scored against Hull, I ran towards Mourinho to thank him.”
Management done right, it seems.