The Belgian started in a holding midfield role alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger and his immobility in the middle of the park was highlighted during a dismal display from Man United. Fellaini was unable to properly use his height and heading ability as a threat throughout the match as he always seemed to be too deep to cause any problems in the final third.
With United dominating possession, it was disappointing to see the 28-year-old not involved further up the pitch where he could have made more of an impact. Supporters of the club disagreed hugely with Louis van Gaal‘s decision to keep Fellaini on the pitch after subbing off Ander Herrera and made their feelings known.
When your manager says he has an 'attacking philosophy' and takes off Herrera but leaves on Fellaini… #mufc
— Ben Pearce (@benpearcetalks) January 9, 2016
He keeps playing Fellaini and I have no idea why.
— Alec Hudson (@Alehud42) January 9, 2016
Fellaini doesn't play against Chelsea and Swansea and it's much better. He comes back in this evening and look at this crap. 😞
— Brandon (@Brandonsayer1) January 9, 2016
Take Fellaini off please, slowing down everything and offering nothing currently #MUFC
— Emil Manninen (@EmilManninen) January 9, 2016
United fans were forced to endure a torrid 90 minutes of football and were left grateful for Wayne Rooney‘s 93rd minute winner from the penalty spot. Many felt Fellaini was a huge part of the problem but it was van Gaal’s deployment of the big midfielder that could also be scrutinised.
Playing against League One opposition at Old Trafford, the manager decided to persist with two holding midfielders, rather than choose to be more expansive and push Fellaini further up the pitch.
With Bastian Schweinsteiger picking up a knee injury late in the game, Fellaini could be due to start against Newcastle United in midweek. United supporters will hope he can have a better game against the Geordies.