Mourinho's Special One? Fellaini on being a favourite of Man Utd boss

Marouane Fellaini Jose Mourinho Manchester United
The Belgium international was one of the first players the Portuguese called to say he was counting on them after landing the Old Trafford job

Marouane Fellaini is reluctant to refer to himself as Jose Mourinho's 'Special One' but admits he feels lucky to have the full backing of the Manchester United manager.

Upon the Portuguese's appointment as Red Devils boss last summer, the Belgium international was one of the first players he called.

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Fellaini was delighted to hear that he had the support of an incoming coach, having endured a tough time convincing a sceptical fan base of his value at Old Trafford.

Mourinho has not always handed the 29-year-old a starting role this season, but he has often been his go-to man when looking to close fixtures out.

That was the case again in Sunday's EFL Cup victory over Southampton, when Fellaini was favoured over club captain Wayne Rooney off the bench, and the versatile midfielder admits he has revelled in his role under a proven winner.

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Fellaini told the Daily Mirror: "In May, he called me to tell me he was counting on me.

"From the start, he gave me confidence. I have always had a very good relationship with him. After my goal against Hull I went to him to thank him because he had protected me in difficult times.

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"He's a winner who has won trophies everywhere he has gone and I have a great relationship with him.

"I try to apply what he tells me. Mourinho knows my qualities, where I can be a threat or where I can be important. Am I his Special One? I'm there for the team, I am a team player."

While Fellaini may be eager to avoid the ‘special’ tag, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has certainly taken on that moniker for United this season.

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The enigmatic Swede took his goal tally to 26 for the season with a match-winning double at Wembley against the Saints, with Fellaini admitting that he has become a vital figure for the Red Devils.

He added: "We can thank Zlatan because he's there at the right moment, he scores goals.

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"He's a very important player. But everyone has been in important in all the games. I have a good relationship with him.

"Everyone knows he's a great player, that he works hard, that he has his character and that he always wants to win, you see that in training.

"During games, he's the first one to want to win. And that desire to win is good for the team."