Marouane Fellaini has earned the respect of Manchester United fans and players with his renaissance this season.
The Belgian midfielder was once again indomitable and helped keep Manchester City’s midfield quiet by overshadowing Yaya Toure.
He was a real threat in attack and proved too much to handle when he nodded in United’s second. Yaya Toure tried to track back and cover him but his efforts proved fruitless.
Speaking to MUTV after the game, Ashley Young hailed his brilliant performances for how influential he has become.
“Felli has been brilliant,” Young said.
“Everyone will say the same. Since he’s come into the team, he’s been fantastic. I’ve said before that very few people can handle him. On his day, he’s unplayable. I don’t think Yaya Toure wanted to be tracking back, he wanted to be at the other end of the pitch but he had that job to do on Felli.
“When Felli is in the box and you can find him, you’ve definitely got a chance of scoring. I saw him at the back post and hoped he’d get on the end of it and score and, thankfully, he managed to do that.”
Louis van Gaal has typically avoided praising individuals this season in order to keep the team collective but even he couldn’t avoid it.
He said: “The fans see that he is very important for the team. He scores goals and lifts the pressure when we need it. He always plays the ball to a red shirt – that is also very important.
“I am very happy for him because when you see how the fans are responding to the substitutions of Mata, Fellaini and Phil Jones, the standing ovations are fantastic for the players.”
Chris Smalling was equally as effusive about Fellaini: “Felli’s been a handful for every team, and there hasn’t really been an answer to him. He needs two players to mark him so he frees up a lot of space. He’s been terrific.”
There’s hardly a bad word, if any, to say about Fellaini right now. Fans are delighted with his performances as are his team-mates and van Gaal is delighted.
All in all, Fellaini is going far and beyond where anybody thought he could get with his performances this season and has gone on to show his resurgence against West Brom was not a flash in the pan.