‘LvG tactics helping Fellaini’

Belgium midfielder Fellaini struggled at Old Trafford after following former boss David Moyes in a????28.5m move from Everton in 2013, as United slumped to a disappointing seventh-place Premier League finish last season.

But Fellaini has started United???s last seven games under Moyes’ successor Van Gaal and scored in the recent 2-1 win against Stoke.

United???s former youth team captain Djordjic, who now captains Indian Super League side Chennaiyin, insists 27-year-old Fellaini is visibly playing with more freedom under van Gaal. ????

???I have to be honest, I was critical of Fellaini early on because when he was playing deep and not getting forward enough,” Djordjic told Sports. “I felt like his talent was being wasted.

“He has to be useful for United as he was at Everton. It???s harder to find that spot at United but it???s probably a little easier now because they are so attacking.

“They???re putting lots of crosses in and he now has that license under Van Gaal to come into the box and join the attack like for the goal he scored against Stoke.

“Last season, he wasn???t really attacking the ball in the area with confidence and was more static in the box.

“Now his confidence is higher and he???s timing his runs much better. He???s now more like the Fellaini Everton had and not his twin brother who we had last year!”

Djordjic insists experience has taught him footballers play better when there is less pressure on their shoulders to perform.

“Fellaini’s been a consistent performer for Belgium and Everton because they play in a way that suits him,” added the former Sweden Under-21 international.

“He needs to play at a club that play the Marouane Fellaini way, not Marouane Fellaini. Being forced to adapt to a Michael Carrick type of role is impossible for him.

“Fellaini has to win tackles, come into the box, win those headers and be a handful like he???s been in the past.

“But he???s playing with more freedom now. When you???re low on confidence, you start thinking more but when you think less you actually play better.

“When doubts come into your head like ‘I have to play better, I must perform, I have to score’, you end up putting so much pressure on yourself that when the game comes round, you’re tired because of over-thinking.

“You get ‘Roberto Soldado’ syndrome – the guy scored 30 goals when he was at Valencia. That???s in La Liga – not the Conference – but he didn???t score (from open play) for nine months before his goal against Everton.

“You have to be mentally strong to go through that. I know that better than anyone because since I was a kid I was touted as the next big thing.

“It didn???t quite pan out like that but I???m still living my dream. I always think that way.”

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