Jose Mourinho has revealed that Marouane Fellaini was substituted soon after coming on against Tottenham on Wednesday night because of a recurrence of his knee injury, rather than the switch being the humiliating tactical decision it first appeared.
The Belgian lasted just seven minutes after coming on for Paul Pogba in the second half at Wembley, coming off and heading straight into the dressing room in an alarmingly rapid change.
Marouane Fellaini limping through mixed-zone yesterday. Confirms that he’s injured: “It’s the knee again.” He injured his knee on October 7th during 🇧🇦-🇧🇪. Since then:— Kristof Terreur 📰 (@HLNinEngeland) February 1, 2018
🚑 out for 4 weeks
✅ 4 games (148 mins)
🚑 out for 6 weeks
✅ 3 games (35 mins)
🚑 out for ? weeks#MUFC pic.twitter.com/NTdAPHptEo
Quoted by Sky Sports after the game, Mourinho said: "He came off because he had something in his knee. Unlucky for him and unlucky for me. He came on with enthusiasm, but he has an injury in his ligament."
He added: “I think I was unlucky with Fellaini as I wanted to change a little bit the dynamic of the team. After a couple of minutes, he was injured. It’s always the same thing. It is the lateral ligament. I don’t think it’s a big, big thing but he was immediately feeling something and telling us he couldn’t carry on.”
Marouane Fellaini was on the pitch for the length of Champagne Supernova by Oasis.— Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel) January 31, 2018
The injury has already seen Fellaini miss ten weeks across two different spells since he first suffered against Bosnia in October, with United fans fearing that one of Mourinho's favoured 'second option' subs will face surgery to correct the troublesome niggle.
Fellaini's injury compounded an already miserable evening for Mourinho's men, with Christian Eriksen scoring the Premier League's third fastest goal after just 11 seconds to give Spurs a lead which they never relinquished, a Phil Jones own goal adding the finishing touches to a humiliating 2-0 defeat.