The Belgian midfielder was one of Man United’s best players in our opening two games against Bournemouth and Southampton, much to the surprise of fans given how little faith we all had in his ability to actually put in some consistent performances.
But in a disciplined defensive midfield role Fellaini has shone and speaking to Sky Sports News about his start to the season, Fellaini pointed towards Mourinho’s trust as something which has inspired him to improve.
He said: “Louis van Gaal trusted me; I played a lot of games. This season, though, I’m playing in my position and I feel the trust of the manager. He has given me confidence and I will give everything.
“[Mourinho’s faith] has had a big impact on me because when someone trusts you 200 per cent you have to repay that. The manager knows my qualities, he knows what I can do.
“He spoke to me on the first day when I arrived back from holiday and I have worked hard like I do every time. I don’t need to explain myself, all the managers I’ve had know my quality. I’m here today and I’m trying hard like I always do to give my best on the pitch.”
I’ll always have my doubts over whether Fellaini should be in the starting XI with Morgan Schneiderlin sat on the bench but to his credit he’s been outstanding in two of our three games. Next up is Manchester City and that’s going to be the real marker for Fellaini; if he can boss the midfield with Paul Pogba in that match, he’s absolutely earned his place in the starting XI.
Chris Smalling was somebody who thrived under the stewardship of Louis van Gaal and Fellaini looks to be one of the players who Mourinho is bringing the best out of. Will it last? That’s another big question because in his time at United so far Fellaini has had fleeting runs where he plays excellent but it’s always followed by a sharp decline only a few matches later. If he can find that consistency, then he could well end up being one of our big surprise packages this season.