Belgium boss Marc Wilmots has praised Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini despite his side’s 2-0 defeat against Italy in their opening fixture of Euro 2016.
Fellaini, playing in the No.10 position for Belgium, caused the Italian defence problems but he could not prevent the loss, which came thanks to goals from Emanuele Giaccherini and Graziano Pelle.
Wilmots was happy with Fellaini, along with Barcelona’s Thomas Vermaelen, despite the disappointing nature of the result.
“The duo played an excellent match,” Wilmots said.
“I absolutely wanted to leave Fellaini on [when introducing Dries Mertens as a substitute] because he was strongly engaged, both offensively and defensively. I needed him on the field, especially in the two boxes.
“Thomas Vermaelen was also playing very strongly. I love his style.”
Man United’s Matteo Darmian also featured in the clash, for Italy. The game gave the distinct impression that Italy boss Antonio Conte simply tactically outclassed Wilmots, who didn’t seem to know how to get the best out of his talented players.
As for Fellaini, it is unclear if he is in Jose Mourinho’s plans at Old Trafford next season.
He certainly has his uses, as shown in the FA Cup in particular during the 2015/16 campaign, but United cannot expect to play attractive football with him in the side week in, week out.