Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini has admitted he felt like a scapegoat last season, but is ready to prove himself under new manager Louis van Gaal.
Fellaini was former United manager David Moyes's first major signing last season, but the Belgian has endured a torrid time at Old Trafford since his move from Everton.
United fans were perceptibly despondent and blatantly vocal in their criticism of the whole transfer. After months of speculation and rumours linking various world-class players with a move to United, they had to settle for a player who was evidently not rated as highly as the players they wanted.
Fellaini reveals how he had to call on the support of his family and relatives to sustain the intense pressure that he was subjected to.
According to the Daily Mail, when asked if he did feel like a ‘scapegoat’ last season, he said: "Yes, a little bit. It is difficult to answer that."
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"I agree last season was tough.
"I agree last season was tough"
"There was a new manager and it was difficult for all the players."
He revealed how his family came to his rescue but maintains the belief that these things happen in football and a player needs to have faith in his ability and be strong in the head.
"My family helped me through it. But I didn’t lose faith in myself. In football you have to be strong in the head. The mentality is important and I do have this quality so I can keep going," he added.
Fellaini had a very good World Cup with Belgium in Brazil this year and went on to reveal how his strong displays in the tournament helped him heal the scars of last season.
Positive World Cup
"I was also in the national team for Belgium at the World Cup and I played well and the team also played well. For my confidence that was important."
The Belgian revealed that when he came back to Old Trafford full of confidence Van Gaal told him he had to fight for his place. Which he did, and tried his best to help out his teammates on the pitch.
"I came back after the summer confident. The manager said to me I would have to fight if I wanted to play. I did fight and trained hard and that was it. When I got my chance I tried to show myself and tried to do my best.
"Last season was a difficult season for me. The World Cup helped me a lot. The manager of the national team and the players helped me and it was a great experience for everybody.
Fellaini's transfer to Old Trafford from Everton was shrouded with cries of disquietude from United fans after the Ander Herrera fiasco of last season which proved to be an ignominious debacle; United failed to land the Spaniard on deadline day.
But the Belgian was full of praise for his former manager, who was sacked before the end of last season. He says Moyes believed in him and his ability.
"David knew my qualities," he said.
"That is why he bought me. He knew what I can do and that is why I am here. But I am happier now I am playing. When you are playing you are always happy. But I have worked hard and I will work hard to play every game."
Fellaini has been in fine form this season after his return from an ankle injury, and his late resurgence has put fans and managers alike in a dilemma. United face Arsenal at the Emirates in their next league outing and the Belgian has evoked divided opinions from everyone whether he deserves a place in the starting XI.
United, who have started the season with similar fashion to last season have been under much criticism but the Belgian believes that the Red Devils will need time to adapt to a new philosophy that manager Van Gaal has brought with him.
"When you bring in a new manager you have to wait because it is not easy to bring in a new philosophy but we are working hard in training," he said.
"The manager has a lot of meetings to help us improve so we will see what happens in time. I am more comfortable here now. I know the players and the people who work in the club and that is important."