By 90Min
November 28, 2018

On Tuesday night, Marouane Fellaini secured Manchester United's qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League with one of his trademark late headers against Young Boys. He's undoubtedly one of the best in the world at grabbing goals like this, but United fans should not be celebrating.

Whilst victory is the most important thing, the manner of United's performance cannot be ignored. Once again, they were lacklustre and uninspiring, but Fellaini saved the day, and he will continue to save the day for as long as Jose Mourinho remains in charge.

When United's loyal fans are screaming 'attack, attack, attack', are they really hoping for 60-yard passes which purely rely on Fellaini being 6'5? When Paul Pogba openly criticised United's negative tactics in September, is this what he wanted? 

All Fellaini's late winners prove is that United are better off with this traditional 'route one' style of play. They struggle to score using speed, dribbling or technical superiority, but they can always rely on the man-mountain Fellaini to snatch an undeserved winner.

Mourinho will continue to ask Fellaini to do so until he can no longer impose himself physically. If United are trailing in the dying embers of a match and Mourinho turns to his substitutes bench to see Marcus RashfordAnthony Martial and Fellaini, he is going to keep choosing the Belgian.

Both Rashford and Martial had already disappointed against Young Boys, but this will further Mourinho's belief that his young players are not dependable. As a result, they could lose their place in the squad to Fellaini, which would be hugely damaging to the team.

Young, exciting players are what United's storied history is based upon. Several academy graduates have emerged into crucial first-team players, but youngsters like Rashford will soon be backup to Fellaini, if they are not already.

Furthermore, the likes of Rashford and Martial are widely regarded as two of the most exciting young players in the world. On their day, they play the brand of football which has grown to be synonymous with United over the years - fast, direct and dangerous.

Dan Mullan/GettyImages

However, that style is now being discouraged, as it is less likely to earn results, whereas this negative style of attack is now viewed as being better for the club. 

In Mourinho's defence, he is paid to win football managers, and sending long-balls to Fellaini is winning football matches. However, it is not winning him many fans, and he would be wise to try distance the club from this style, or his job may be at risk.

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