Marouane Fellaini is delighted with his current form which is finally proving his worth to sceptical Manchester United fans.
The no-nonsense midfielder heads into Sunday’s Premier League clash at Burnley having already made more appearances for the club this season, 41 in all competitions, than in any campaign since his £27.5 million from Everton in 2013.
The Belgium international scored in last month’s win at Middlesbrough, captained the team for the first time in the victory at Sunderland and on Thursday night came off the bench to help United book their place in the semi-finals of the Europa League.
Having often bore the brunt of criticism from a frustrated Old Trafford faithful during the tenures of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, Fellaini has become a more reliable, and influential presence, under Jose Mourinho.
The 29-year-old said on the United website: “I feel like I have been playing well in the last few games.
“When the manager puts me in the team, I give absolutely everything for the cause. I have confidence in the manager and the staff.
“I’m confident, I know what I can do, so I feel good in my mind and my body. I keep going and keep working hard and, when I get a chance to play, I always try to do well.”
Fellaini’s form is a welcome boost for Mourinho, who has seen his side decimated by injury, particularly in defence.
Already without long-term absentees Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, the Portuguese lost Marcos Rojo in the extra-time win over Anderlecht.
The Argentinian left the pitch on a stretcher after sustaining a knee injury, while to make matters worse Zlatan Ibrahimovic reportedly suffered cruciate ligament damage that will rule him out until 2018 when his knee buckled in an awkward landing against the Belgians.
Ander Herrera and Ashley Young, described by Mourinho as “fresh to play” after not featuring in midweek, appear set to feature at Turf Moor, where Burnley have won 10 of their 16 league games this term.
While they are only three games away from a first ever Europa League success, and with it automatic Champions League qualification, United’s top-four hopes are still far from over.
They can close the gap on fourth-placed Manchester City to just a point with a win at Burnley, with the city rivals going head-to-head at the Etihad Stadium in a crunch clash on Thursday night.
Left-back Luke Shaw, who appears finally to be winning Mourinho’s trust after stinging public criticism from the boss, feels United have the strength in depth to cope with their injury problems, even if the Portuguese himself says his team are in “trouble”.
“The great thing about our squad is we have quality players all around in every position and people can come in and go out,” Shaw said on MUTV.
“When their chance comes, they take it and the team at the moment are very strong in training and everyone is fighting for a place because we have important games coming up.
“Obviously, we want to fight for the top four as well and now we have the semis and everyone wants to be playing, so the sort of quality in the training is good with everyone showing what they can do to get in the first XI.”