Marouane Fellaini accepts that he faces a fight for a place in Manchester United’s team ahead of what he hopes will be his debut when Crystal Palace visit Old Trafford on Saturday. The midfielder spoke for the first time on Friday since his £27.5 million deadline-day move from Everton and is keen to prove his critics wrong by helping his new club maintain their success.
"I came here to win trophies,” he said, according to Manchester United’s official website. “For me, it's a dream to join the biggest club in the world. I need to work hard for my place -- there are a lot of good players. I need to show my ability, I'll keep focused. I want to help the team and give everything. I know the manager and the quality of the players here, it's good for me to help me play well here.
"I will prove myself on the pitch. Some people don't like my qualities, but I don't care. The manager, staff and players here know me. The manager gave me confidence [when he signed him at Everton]. I didn't know anyone, but he helped me."
Fellaini has previously stated that he sees his future in a defensive midfield role, but manager David Moyes has suggested that he will be used in different positions depending on the situation.
"Fellaini can do several different jobs, score goals and is effective in different areas,” he explained. “I hope he can continue to improve. We've got a busy schedule and I wanted to play a different way in different games. Marouane Fellaini helps me to do that.”
With Wayne Rooney missing out due to his head wound, it is possible that Fellaini could make his debut in a more advanced role. Although more likely is that the position behind Robin van Persie will be occupied by Danny Welbeck or even Shinji Kagawa, whose lack of action at the beginning of the season has raised much speculation about whether the Japan international fits into Moyes’s plans.
Long term, though, is appears likely that Fellaini will add the dynamism and physicality alongside Michael Carrick that has been absent for several seasons. Tom Cleverley has filled that role in the opening three Premier League games of the season, though doubts remain about whether the 24-year-old can be a difference-maker at the very top level. Moyes explained that the retirement of Paul Scholes, coupled with the still uncertain future of Darren Fletcher made strengthening the midfield a priority.
“[Fellaini] was someone right from the start we penciled in for position at Manchester United,” he said. “We knew we should add numbers in midfield with Fletcher's illness and Scholes retiring. He was always one that was out there we talked about it a lot and thankfully we got him here.”
The Premier League champions will have had almost two weeks to stew on their 1-0 defeat to bitter rivals Liverpool. The result leaves Moyes with a just four points to show from his first three league matches as United boss and in need of a victory against newly promoted Crystal Palace.
Ian Holloway’s side got their first points since returning to the top flight with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland last time out. Since then Palace were active on transfer deadline-day, bringing in striker Cameron Jerome, midfielder Barry Bannan and defenders Adrian Mariappa and Jack Hunt. However, Hunt will have to wait some time to make his debut having suffered a broken ankle that rules him out for the rest of the year.