After going from a villain to a cult hero in over a year at Old Trafford, Marouane Fellaini feels Manchester United can now count on him after rediscovering his mojo under new boss Louis van Gaal.
Fellaini is emerging as an important member of Van Gaal’s United team, with his performances in recent weeks helping them to establish a five point gap between themselves and fifth place Liverpool in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
He was lampooned and made a scapegoat after his torrid debut season at United under his former Everton boss David Moyes who signed the 27-year-old in the summer of 2013.
Though Fellaini was smart in not directly criticising Moyes in a “bad season” that saw United miss out on European qualification, but was swift to praise Dutch tactician Van Gaal for his renaissance.
The Belgian midfielder, who has been converted to a target man upfront this season, told reporters that he believed Van Gaal was the right fit for a club of United’s stature and has praised the impact made by the pragmatic and honest former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss on him and the Red Devils squad as a whole.
“He [Van Gaal] told me, ‘Prove yourself and we’ll see’. Now they are counting on me,” Fellaini said.
“The coach is very strict, but that’s good.
“We needed such a coach. Last season we had a bad season. We even missed European qualification. We needed a coach who would put some players’ feet back on the ground.
“If he says something, you should do it. Otherwise you’ll fly out of it. If he has to take you off the pitch when the game hasn’t been going on for more than 30 minutes he’ll do it. Or during half-time. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened to me yet.
“There were never any real doubts for me. I was injured at the beginning of the season and then returned. The coach gave me confidence and I proved myself in a few matches.”