Fellaini had restored parity in the first half, converted a scruffy goal after good work from both Michael Carrick and Memphis Depay, after Man United had gone a goal down within two minutes of the start of the game. The Belgian was a constant threat for United and caused all sorts of problems for the Bournemouth defence.
Fellaini certainly seemed the most likely of all the players on the pitch to make something happen for United and he was unlucky to finish the game with just the one goal to his name. However, van Gaal ensured the 28-year-old didn’t get a full 90 minutes on the pitch, bringing him off in the second half in place of Nick Powell and the manager spoke about the substitution after the game.
Van Gaal told Manutd.com: “You have to try something and we were not the dominant team so you have to change something in the position of the players, so you hope that he contributes to the making of a goal and we have tried that.”
Powell didn’t have the desired effect as he struggled to get involved once he came on. It was only his second appearance in 18 months, having come on off the bench against Wolfsburg in midweek as well. On that occasion, he was replacing Juan Mata as part of a move that many ridiculed as United searched for a goal in Germany.
The 21-year-old has been put into two hugely challenging situations recently and, having just come back form a lengthy injury lay-off, it may not be what he needs. Against Bournemouth in particular, replacing Fellaini meant that he was coming on in place of the only player who looked like restoring some respectability to the scoreline.