New Delhi: Marouane Fellaini has claimed he was made a scapegoat for Manchester United's disastrous season last year, because of his relationship with David Moyes.
Shortly after completing his £27 million move to Old Trafford in 2013, the midfielder came under heavy criticism for a string of poor performances. Despite luring the Belgian international to United, manager Moyes failed to find a position for Fellaini that best suited his qualities.
Fellaini's display on the pitch did not help either, as he gave the ball away for too many times and slowed down United's faced paced attack. Under Moyes, the club finished in 7th place missing out on European football altogether.
After Moyes was unceremoniously sacked, Fellaini's future at Old Trafford was shrouded under doubt as new manager Louis van Gaal set about reshaping the squad. However, an injury to the midfielder prevented his transfer to Napoli.
That was a blessing in disguise to the former Everton man, as he grabbed his opportunity when the new manager finally handed it to him.
Last week, United won their 6th consecutive match in the Premier League, a feat that seemed distant just a few months ago. Among the stars of Van Gaal's quiet revolution at Old Trafford has been Fellaini.
As he continues receiving bouquets for his spectacular performances this season, the 27-year-old feels the brickbats of last season were unfairly hurled at him.
He said: "Last season we didn't play well as a team and it was easy for people outside the club to say it was me because the manager brought me with him (from Everton), but that was something I had to deal with."
"It was a difficult moment. I learnt a lot. I care about what people have to say, of course, but my concern was for my family, my mum, dad and my brothers, because when (critics) are saying bad things about me, it will have been very hard for them."
Van Gaal has shown with his team selection, that he trusts Fellaini to do the job for him in the big games. The midfielder has possibly endured the toughest spell his career this past year. The fact he has bulldozed his way into the first team from the brink of being shipped out suggests Fellaini has learnt what it takes to survive at one of world's biggest football club.
With agency inputs