Jose Mourinho has hailed Marouane Fellaini for making a tangible difference during the latter stages of Manchester United’s smash-and-grab 2-1 win away at Juventus in the Champions League.
The 55-year-old sent on Fellaini after Juventus took the lead along with Juan Mata, who scored a wonderful free-kick to bring Man United level in Turin.
But it was the boisterous influence of Fellaini which pinned Juventus’ defence back and laid the platform for a late, scrambled winner from Ashley Young‘s set-piece.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho made note of the way Fellaini’s presence altered the dimension of United’s attacks towards the end.
Mourinho: “Fellaini changes the game, most often at home. We introduced Juan Mata not for the free kicks, but to put the crosses in for Fellaini, who always dominates in the air.” #mufc [Sky Italia]
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) November 7, 2018
Mourinho: 'Fellaini gave us an option to be alive again.' #mufc
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) November 7, 2018
Until, of course, Fellaini happened. Because Fellaini, more than anything, brings a feeling of chaos, of general disruption to the order of things.
He is awkward, massive, occasionally violent, and always a presence. The combination of Mata needling the ball around and Fellaini constantly intruding the box towards the end, with Juventus choosing to sit back, sent uncertainty running down the spine of the Italian champions.
It was a beautiful ball from Young at the end. It was a wonderful free-kick from Mata. It was a superb team performance from United. But it was Fellaini’s presence in the box which allowed for that late, dramatic winner to worm its way into the net. The Belgian Zidane strikes once again.