Jose Mourinho Hails Man Utd Star as a Player With 'Special Qualities' Following 3-0 Win Over Basel
Jose Mourinho cited Marouane Fellaini as one of his "most important players" following United's victorious return to the Champions League in which they breezed past Basel 3-0.
Fellaini was brought on to replace the injured Paul Pogba 18 minutes in - putting in a sensational Man of the Match display, with a goal and an assist to his name. The United boss commented:
"He is a player with special qualities, he gives me multiple areas of action, positions, and philosophy on the pitch. He is one of my most important players, even if he doesn't start every week. I'm happy because the supporters understand that."
Previously booed and ridiculed by fans, Fellaini has really improved in recent months.
Mourinho also gave a quick update on Paul Pogba, who appeared to pick up a hamstring injury having landed awkwardly: "It looks for me too [like a hamstring injury] but I haven't spoken yet to the medical department. Squads are for this, squads are for injuries, squads are for suspensions. We don't cry with injuries.
"So if no Paul for Sunday, we have Herrera, we have Carrick, we have Fellaini and we have Matic."
Ruling the midfielder out of United's clash with Everton in the Premier League, the severity of the injury is yet to be seen. United looked solid with Fellaini and Matic controlling the midfield, but the lack of creativity and drive going forward was clear to see in Pogba's absence.
However, the United boss blasted his team for taking their foot off the pedal in true Mourinho fashion:
"After 2-0, we stopped to play, we stopped to think and we could have put ourselves in trouble. We were making bad decisions, playing fantasy football, PlayStation football. I don't like it, flicks & tricks. You have to respect your opponent."
Clearly disappointed at his team's failure to put more past the Swiss champions, it's classic Mourinho to have this cynicism despite a comfortable win.
United were impressive throughout with the result never in doubt, with these comments acting as motivation for his side to keep pushing and working hard - especially when facing the lesser lights in the group stage of the competition.