What a difference half a year can make. Back in May, Manchester United, having sacked David Moyes, had endured their worst ever finish in the Premier League and one of the main scapegoats for the team's failings was the only notable summer signing from the previous year, Marouane Fellaini.
Now, as we approach 2015, Manchester United have won six games in a row to climb to third in the Barclays Premier League table under Louis Van Gaal, having brought in several big name signings during the summer. But the most dramatic change may be in the performances of the much maligned Fellaini, who is seen as the face of Manchester United's turn in fortune.
Having been the butt of the joke as United struggled, Fellaini is now being praised for his impact in a United side who have returned to the sort of form their supporters are used to seeing. Having admitted that it is easier to play without the pressure of being a new signing, Fellaini then baulked at a suggestion which was made last season that he should shave his hair off in order to not stand out so much, as he said:
It’s my style and I’m staying like that. You either like me or you don’t like me. It’s not my problem. I don’t care. Some people were saying I should have my hair cut and that would change everything, but that is just stupid. Why would I want to hide anyway? And even if I did, how could I when I play for one of the biggest clubs in the world? If you play for Manchester United, you should want to be seen. The minute you become afraid of what people think when they see you or you try to hide, you are finished.
While the arrival of new signings of the calibre of Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao has shifted some of the focus away from Fellaini and his instantly recognisable hair, the Belgian midfielder also praised the impact of Louis Van Gaal's arrival on his form.
Some of the newspapers said that Van Gaal didn’t want me, but I knew the truth. When he spoke to me he told me that he wanted me to show him that I could play. That was it. After that, I showed myself in training and then I started to play. The manager did not push me out as some people suggested he would, he has given me a chance to play an important part in his team and he has supported me. He has been fantastic for everyone. When I play, he gives me a role and he gives me confidence. This has really helped me, but I never lost belief that I could be a good player for United. Like every other player, there will be games when I do not play well, but for now things are going really well so I am happy.
Manchester United play away to Aston Villa at 3pm on Saturday, and Louis Van Gaal will be hoping for a continuation in the form of the team as a whole, but also of the resurgent Marouane Fellaini.
via The Times.