Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal admits he has warned Marouane Fellaini to keep his cool when he goes head-to-head with his former employers Everton this weekend.
Sunday will be the first time Fellaini has played at Goodison Park since his £27.5 million move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2013 - he was an unused substitute against the Toffees last April - and Van Gaal told reporters on Friday that he has spoken to the Belgium international about the need to remain calm and composed in what promises to be a hostile environment.
The Everton faithful are not expected to hand Fellaini, who spent five years with the Merseyside outfit, a warm reception - although Van Gaal hopes that’s not the case.
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"I have spoken with Fellaini because I know this," the veteran Dutch coach was quoted as saying by the Mirror. "But Fellaini is always very dry with his answers.
"He said 'it's just a game' but I said 'yes, but it's a special game for you'. I hope the Everton fans shall receive him like the Chelsea fans received Juan Mata because I like that very much."
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Everton fans lost respect for Fellaini
Mata was handed a generous round of applause at Stamford Bridge by the Chelsea supporters last weekend. The Spaniard spent two-and-a-half seasons with the Blues before being sold to Manchester United after falling out of favour under the management of Jose Mourinho.
While Mata was effectively forced out of Chelsea by his manager, it was a different situation for Fellaini, who Roberto Martinez wanted to keep at Goodison Park.
David Moyes attempted to sign both Leighton Baines and Fellaini, but only succeeded in bringing the latter to Old Trafford on the final day of the summer transfer window for an over-inflated price.
Fellaini proves his worth
Following an extremely tough first season-and-a-half at Old Trafford, the much-maligned Fellaini has recently established himself as a key player in Van Gaal’s starting line-up.
The 27-year-old scored goals against Tottenham and Manchester City and also played an important role in United’s superb 2-1 win away to Liverpool last month.
Fellaini will be desperate to make an impact against Everton this weekend - in order to keep up his excellent run of good form, more than anything - but remaining disciplined over the course of the 90 minutes may prove to be his biggest challenge.
Does Marouane Fellaini have a long-term future at Manchester United? Have your say in the comments below!