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Van Gaal deserves praise for the resurgence of Marouane Fellaini

In a summer transfer window which saw Manchester United miss out on various transfer targets, the signing of Marouane Fellaini represented Ed Woodward’s last ditch attempt to make a signing before the 2013/14 season got started. At the time United fans couldn’t see any merit in the acquisition of the Belgian for £27.5 million, when he could have been signed for a fraction of that fee had the club acted sooner.

Fellaini’s first season as a Manchester United player was blighted by injury, he suffered six in total, including a problem with his wrist which had to be operated on in December 2013. Manchester United finished seventh and inevitably David Moyes was sacked in April, just four matches from the end of the campaign. Fellaini had endured a torrid season, he had suffered from poor form, a lack of confidence and from being played out of position.

Under Louis van Gaal Fellaini has ‘rightly’ got the opportunity to make amends, and boy has he has taken his chances.
In the earlier part of the season the Belgian had little or no part to play for LVG’s side, but a half-time substitution against West Brom in October changed his United career and prompted his manager to opt for more physicality in his side going forwards. Fellaini scored just minutes after coming on and has become one of the most important members of United’s squad ever since. Against Preston, Fellaini received the man of the match award and scored his fourth goal of the season. After trailing 1-0 at Deep Dale his goal was crucial in taking United into the next round, when an upset could have been on the cards.

United fans are starting to see that the man with an afro offers a lot more than they may of anticipated last year. A huge amount of credit has to go to the player for not throwing in the towel and for working incredibly hard over the summer. But some credit must be given to LVG who has had the faith to deploy Fellaini in a number of different roles this season and had given the outsider a fresh start at Old Trafford.

Speaking in his post match interview after the win at Preston and reported exclusively on the Sky Sports website LVG said;

“Marouane Fellaini has a body, he also scores goals. I played him in the position that he wants for the first time but I do not always have a position for him. The spirit was better.

“We showed an unbelievable team spirit. We changed the shape and that was the solution. We scored fantastic goals … I liked the second goal a lot, we have trained that a lot.”

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By Sophie Flynn

Sophie Flynn is a freelance journalist and blogger from Anglo-Irish roots. Her obsession with United started in 1994 and she's been a regular match goer ever since. Her favourite players include Eric Cantona, Roy Keane and Denis Irwin.

4 replies on “Van Gaal deserves praise for the resurgence of Marouane Fellaini”

Fine, so under Van Gaal Fellaini is on the improve, albeit from a low starting point.

Pity every other attacking player has gone backwards.

Van Gaal has played attacking players out of position without doubt, but attacking players going backwards? I’m not so sure. I don’t agree with everything the bloke does, but is he a good manager? Yes. Do I agree with his philosophy, I’m not so sure. But I knew this when we brought the guy in, what’s changed? Nothing really apart from we’re more solid at the back and the press are turning a mole hill into a mountain. Top four is the aim this season and he’s within touch, I reserve my judgement for the end of the season. Seems were very quick to criticise, rather than give him any genuine credit. If he’s sacked who comes in? Who’s available of that calibre? no one.

Not one of United’s attacking players is performing at their best and this is a direct result of van Gaal’s cautious approach. There may be issues with individuals about form but collectively it’s been caused by the manager.

As for the top four finishing position, if United had been more positive in their many drawn games away from home, then we would would be second at worst and a top four final position well in grasp. As it is we are merely in the mix with several clubs and with Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and City still to be played, a top four spot is far from certain.

I said nothing about sacking van Gaal, I too am reserving judgement until the end of the season, but so far I have been less than enthused with what has transpired.

I understand the points you have made, and suffer the same frustration watching United, but I don’t think van Gaal is cautious he’s just not the same type of manager we are used to. But I suppose that’s a matter of opinion and I can see why you would think that.

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