Owen Hargreaves believes Marouane Fellaini has been unfairly criticised since he joined Manchester United - and says that just because he can't compete with Paul Scholes or Roy Keane he shouldn't be held responsible for all the club's problems.
Fellaini joined the Red Devils on deadline day last summer from Everton for a fee in the region of £27.5 million.
However he is yet to find his best form, and spent a frustrating spell on sidelines with a wrist complaint mid-way through the season. The Belgian is still seeking his first goal in a Manchester United shirt having made 18 appearances for the club so far.
His struggles mirror the problems his new club has faced under manager David Moyes. They currently sit in 7th place in the Premier League with their chances of qualifying for the Champions League all but gone.
Despite his problems, former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves, who made 39 appearances for the club, believes Fellaini should be given time to flourish - and says it is unfair to compare him to former greats.
“The start of Fellaini’s Manchester United career hasn’t gone as well as he would have wanted it to or as well as Moyes wanted it to," he told the Manchester Evening News. "When you pay that kind of money, you expect an impact.
“You know at United, the likes of Keane and Scholes set the standard in midfield and it’s been difficult for new players to reach that standard but I don’t think you can blame any one individual for all the problems. It’s not fair to point out one individual - players all over the park need to improve.”
While their Premier League season hasn't gone to plan, Manchester United have made it through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League - and they go up against favourites Bayern Munich tonight.
Hargreaves, who joined Manchester United from Bayern in a deal worth around £17 million, believes the Red Devils have a huge task on their hands in trying to stop the German champions.
“It’s probably one of the first times that Bayern Munich have come to Old Trafford as favourites," he explained.
“They are two clubs that couldn’t have more differing fortunes at the minute. Bayern are flying. They’ve won the league and it’s only March.
“United’s struggles have been very well documented. It’s going to be difficult for them.
“Football is all about confidence and United fans would be the first to say they’re probably not that confident about this game. They know it’s going to be tough.
“Obviously United stand a chance but it’s hard to see anything other than Bayern going through.
“They are favourites and have so much firepower. They are brilliant in every position - from goalkeeper to defence, midfield and attack. Bayern are very well organised and exciting to watch.”