Jose Mourinho explains why he subbed on Marouane Fellaini against Everton

by Leo Nieboer


Jose Mourinho has explained why he brought on Marouane Fellaini for the last few minutes of Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Everton at Goodison Park.

The Belgian, with his side 1-0 up, was introduced after 85 minutes to provide some muscle at the back against Ronald Koeman’s men.

But Fellaini, much to the frustration of Man United fans, did nothing of the sort and instead ruined his side’s afternoon by giving away a penalty in the 89th minute – which was duly converted by Leighton Baines.

Mourinho, when asked why he decided to bring on the 29-year-old, was prickly in his response: “What do you mean by that?”

“I thought you would know more about football than you do, because the answer is obvious.

“Everton is not the passing team anymore, like they were, Everton is a team that plays direct, everything is direct, goalkeeper: direct, Ashley Williams: direct, Funes Mori: direct, everything is direct.

“And when a team is losing and plays direct, intensifies the direct football, and when you have a player on the bench with two metres you play the player in front of the defensive line to help the team to the match.”

You can hardly blame Mourinho for wanting to add some height and power to his back-line against Everton, especially with the home side launching an aerial onslaught during the dying stages of the game. This is, after all, one of the oldest, most commonly used tricks in the book.

What the 53-year-old wasn’t prepared for was the sheer calamity of Fellaini’s contribution. The Belgian failed to provide even an iota of physical assurance in the nine minutes he was on. Indeed, the 29-year-old could only muster a failed five yard pass, with literally nobody even close to him, and a needless foul to cost United a win they desperately needed.

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