The Belgian featured for the entire 90 minutes, and didn’t manifest any discernible signs of discomfort as he celebrated Marcus Rashford‘s injury time winner with supporters.
However, Mourinho made it clear that this could be a potentially serious setback for Fellaini.
Mourinho's says Fellaini has a back injury and 'it's bad'
— Mark Ogden (@MarkOgden_) August 27, 2016
Back injuries are very rarely minor knocks that take care of themselves. And if the early signs are notably negative, the 28-year-old – fundamental to the early stages of the Mourinho era, starting all four games – could be sidelined for some time.
Fellaini’s bombastic, marauding presence in the centre of midfield has been a crucial aspect of the side’s backbone, enforcing the kind of pure aggression and power that Mourinho demands of a midfielder. He may not be universally admired by supporters, but the Belgian has an important role in this side, and the 53-year-old will rue his absence.
On the flipside, Fellaini’s absence provides an enhanced opportunity for Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin to prove themselves alongside Paul Pogba. Maybe even Bastian Schweinsteiger, emotionlessly ostracised so far this season, could force his way back into the first team.
Of course, the nature and severity of Fellaini’s is still unknown at this point, but details surrounding midfielder’s setback will become clear soon.