The Belgian was recalled to the starting XI for the first time since Man United’s 4-0 defeat to Chelsea last month.
Alongside Michael Carrick, Fellaini was part of an indomitable midfield core against Swansea, giving Pogba the license to express himself going forward.
Mourinho, speaking after his side’s 3-1 win in Wales, was quick to praise the midfielder.
“Pogba was surrounded by quality and experience,” he said.
“Fellaini gives balance to the team, allowing Paul to play with freedom.”
The 28-year-old’s performance against Swansea, amid the power of Pogba and the composure of Carrick, has gone largely unnoticed. But Mourinho – a notoriously observant, pragmatic individual – understandably took notice of Fellaini’s powerful, diligent performance.
Above anything, the Belgian acted as a battering ram, acting as a physical compliment to Carrick’s calmness and Pogba’s attacking stimulus. This was a game that saw Fellaini perfect the ugly aspects of the game: making interceptions, shifting the ball forward, looking for space and closing down Swansea players.
With this in mind, it is worth noting how Fellaini’s game has evolved as a United player. He arrived at Old Trafford in 2013 as an attacking midfielder – a genuine No.10, and he – perhaps understandably – struggled with the task of playing alongside Carrick as a more defensively oriented midfielder.
Constrast that with the Fellaini of 2016 – the difference is astonishing, and United fans will hope to see the Belgian’s development at Old Trafford continue.