Jose Mourinho picked out Marouane Fellaini for praise on his return from injury in Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.
The Belgian has been out of action since the October international break after an injury and came off the bench in the second half to place Henrikh Mkhitaryan soon after Chelsea took the lead through Alvaro Morata’s header.
Despite the loss, and despite Fellaini making a number of errors in possession, Mourinho hailed his midfielder.
“Fellaini made an unbelievable effort. He trained for the first time yesterday. Important for me to give him a public word.”
The Portuguese praised Fellaini for coming back so quickly rather than his actual performance, but the 29-year-old was better than the man he replaced in Henrikh Mkhitaryan who put in another woeful performance.
While Fellaini wasn’t at his best at Stamford Bridge, his return is fantastic news in the long-term given the form he was showing before the blow.
United have missed Fellaini’s presence in midfield, something most would never have guessed people would be saying while Fellaini drew great criticism in the first three years of his career at Old Trafford.
While the Reds have missed Fellaini, they have done so to a further extent with Paul Pogba. The Frenchman has been out since September and Romelu Lukaku and Mkhitaryan have looked far worse players without the 24-year-old.