Saturday 18 August 2018

Mourinho hails Fellaini's fighting spirit

Marouane Fellaini cannot hide his delight after scoring his second goal of the afternoon against Crystal Palace. Photo: Reuters
Marouane Fellaini cannot hide his delight after scoring his second goal of the afternoon against Crystal Palace. Photo: Reuters

Phil Medlicott

Jose Mourinho is happy to have helped change perceptions of "fighter" Marouane Fellaini after the midfielder's brace in the win over Crystal Palace. Fellaini, much-maligned in the past, has often shown his worth since Mourinho became United manager and did so as the Red Devils thrashed Palace at Old Trafford, with Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku also on the scoresheet.

Asked after the Premier League contest what he had done to make Fellaini such a key figure, Mourinho said: "Just common sense, I guess. All managers are different. Sometimes we like players others don't. Sometimes we don't like players others like. Some players perform better with some of us than with others, and I have examples of players that didn't perform well for me and then performed well for other managers.

"It is just the fact that I think Marouane has important qualities and I try to use them depending on the situation and the team needs. He is a team player, a great character and we have a good relationship.

"I think only a strong character could resist the difficulties here because he had some difficult times when people didn't recognise his qualities, when probably other managers didn't like so much the qualities he has. So he had to be a strong character.

"He is a fighter, a guy with lots of pride, and I am really pleased I helped him to reach this level and to change the perception the fans have now."

Mourinho, who made five changes to his starting line-up for this fixture, added: "We are playing well. I don't say well for 90 minutes because sometimes we have periods where we lose a little bit our consistency, in what I call quality with our intensity. But it is difficult to do that for 90 minutes. I'm really happy with the points."

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