Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has noted that Marouane Fellaini is horrible to play against following his brace during Manchester United’s 4-0 win over Crystal Palace.
The Belgian recovered from an ankle injury against Southampton last weekend to return to the starting XI on Saturday and doubled Man United’s lead minutes before the break after latching onto Ashley Young‘s perfect cross.
And he wasn’t done there, netting his fourth off the season early in the second half from Marcus Rashford‘s free-kick to crown what was an imposing display alongside Nemanja Matic.
Speaking on BT Sport, Gerrard was quick to stress that Fellaini was an awkward, nightmarish player to deal with for 90 minutes.
“He’s horrible (to play against),” he said.
“He’s a handful, even when he was at Everton, he was a little bit further forward. He used to back in, get flick-ons, hold the ball up. The key here is that the manager loves him. He’s always going on record praising him.”
You could see it from a mile away. Whenever Young cuts inside and winds up an in-swinging cross, with Fellaini ominously lurking at the back post, the end result is always the same: the Belgian crashing the ball home past a helpless keeper.
There are some attacking dynamics that cannot be planned, but rather simply happen and click immediately, and Young’s delivery mixed with Fellaini’s boisterous presence is the perfect example.
And his second goal – a bullet header that flew past Wayne Hennessey before anybody could even react – was a nod towards what Gerrard was alluding to.
He is simply too big, too awkward, too aggressive, too confident to ever nullify, and you sense that supporters are starting to see exactly why Mourinho values him so highly.