Marouane Fellaini makes important impact from the bench against Anderlecht

by Leo Nieboer

Marouane Fellaini produced a powerful performance from the bench during Manchester United’s second leg 2-1 win over Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-final.

The Belgian, who impressed many with a bombastic midfield display against Chelsea, came on for Jesse Lingard after 60 minutes.

Fellaini’s impact was immediate and emphatic; his presence precipitated a more direct approach from Jose Mourinho’s men – something that duly paid off after the 29-year-old brought down a long ball and found Marcus Rashford, who duly netted the winner in the 106th minute.

His numbers from the game illustrate just how influential he was after coming on.

The Belgian’s complete display against Chelsea made me realise the difference of quality that emerges when comparing his performances from the bench with his output when he starts. I don’t need to remind you of that cameo against Everton; his substitute appearance in Belgium last week was also pretty lukewarm.

But his introduction against Anderlecht felt perfect. Rene Weiler’s men were starting to push high up the pitch, with the likes of Youri Tielemans and Leander Dendoncker looking to burst forward. Mourinho, in response, used Fellaini as a means of pushing the visitors back into their box – a move that quickly paid off.

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