Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on Marouane Fellaini for making such a powerful start to the season for Manchester United.
The Belgian has been a boisterous, ruthlessly effective force in midfield this season and took his tally for this season to four goals with a brace against Crystal Palace.
Mourinho has been quick to shower praise on a player he sees as unappreciated by a large section of the club’s fanbase, labelling him as an extremely important player ahead of Man United’s 2-2 draw with Stoke.
And the 54-year-old, speaking soon after the 4-0 win over Palace last weekend, labelled the Belgian as a “fighter” with “important qualities”.
“He is a great player and character and we have a good relationship,” he said.
“A strong character who resists the difficulties here. Some people did not recognise his qualities so he has to be a strong character. He is a fighter.
“I am really pleased that I help him reach this level and to change the perception that the fans have now. I am really happy for him.
“Fellaini has important qualities and I try and use his qualities depending on the situations. He plays with me as a defensive midfielder and as a second striker and adapts to the needs of the team.”
The 29-year-old brings to the table a variety of qualities and attributes that Mourinho has put to use with greater effect as time has passed, but his greatest asset can be boiled down to one word: durability.
We do not appreciate the fact that Fellaini has been there for every step of the way during the post-Fergie era. All the change, misery, reinventions, uncertainty and general fracas has never – not even once – derailed the Belgian.
Every day, without fail, he is there to work hard. To fight for his place. Giving up has never been an option. And after years of derision and perceived failure, supporters are starting to appreciate that.