Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has revealed he cried when former manager David Moyes lost his job at Old Trafford, claiming the news of his old mentor's sacking hit him really hard.
The Belgium international followed the ex-Red Devils boss from Everton to the Theatre of Dreams in the summer of 2013 and so it's understandable he had a closer relationship than most of his other team-mates, having spent six years in total playing under the 52-year-old Scot.
Looking back at those dark days in the immediate aftermath of Moyes's departure, Fellaini was forced to relive some of the anguish experienced in one of the most challenging periods of his career as a professional footballer.
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“I was sad when he went,” the 27-year-old was quoted saying by the Daily Mirror. “I came into the canteen and saw him in a suit instead of his tracksuit. He called me into his office and told me.
“There were tears and that is normal, I am human. I worked six years with him. He was not a second father, but almost. He helped me a lot."
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Despite the heartache that Fellaini experienced as a result of the now Real Sociedad head coach's swift exit it's fair to say that he's now thriving under the new tutelage of Louis van Gaal, and is producing displays that are unrecognisable from the player that performed so badly last season.
The £90,000-a-week star had been tipped to leave the club after one underwhelming campaign but he's now established himself as a key part of the veteran Dutch coach's first-team plans.
Van Gaal's philosophy for intricate possession-based football is not exactly something that you'd immediately associate with Fellaini, but his physical strength, aerial prowess and ability to hold up the ball are attributes that have appealed to the former Netherlands boss as he provides an additional outlet for his attacking players further up the pitch.
“What Van Gaal has been asking me is to be as close as possible to [Wayne] Rooney in the box,” explained Fellaini. “He talks a lot.
“He came to see me one day and said: ‘You know why you are playing?’ and I said 'No' and he said it was because I didn’t lose the ball.
“When I start to lose the ball in training, he repeats: ‘I play you because you don’t lose the ball, so don’t start losing it'.
“I knew it was going to be difficult when he arrived because I was the scapegoat last season. So I told myself I had nothing to lose.
“I had one chat with him at the start of the season on my return from the World Cup. He told me there were a lot of players in my position and it was up to me to prove myself."
And prove himself he certainly has, with Fellaini now likely to be one of the first names on the Manchester United teamsheet, particularly in the absence of injured midfield maestro Michael Carrick.
The veteran England international's absence has coincided with a wretched run of three consecutive defeats for Van Gaal's side, but they remain confident of clinching a Champions League qualification place by picking up enough points from their three remaining Premier League games against Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Hull City on the last day of the season.
Manchester United fans: Has Marouane Fellaini won you over with his performances at Old Trafford this season? Do you think he is good enough to forge a long and successful career at the club? Have your say below...
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