Tuesday 21 August 2012
Everton manager David Moyes was full of praise for Marouane Fellaini, after the midfielder's winning goal earned Everton a memorable victory against Manchester United.
Deployed up front for the home side, Fellaini was the scourge of a United side plagued by defensive injuries and the imposing Belgian international crowned a commanding performance with a 57th-minute winner against Sir Alex Ferguson's side, to the delight of his manager.
"I am really pleased because they performed ever so well and got a great result"
"Marouane Fellaini is a really good player," said Moyes. "We can play him behind the striker, in the middle or because of his power in the air we can play him as a defensive one as well."
Victory represented a welcome change for a perennially slow-starting club. Everton had not won an opening Barclays Premier League fixture for five seasons, but Moyes was glad his side were able to prove the match was not just a platform for Manchester United's high-profile new signings, Robin van Persie and Shinjui Kagawa, to showcase their skills.
"I'm really pleased because we performed ever so well, added Moyes. "We've often started the season slowly but just because we've won one game doesn't mean we've had a good start – as it would not have been a bad start had we lost.
"You probably judge it after 10 games how you've started the season. I've tried absolutely everything to try to get off to a good start so we tried something different this year.
"I am really pleased because they performed ever so well and got a great result."
"David de Gea made some great saves. In the build-up it was all about Manchester United and what they could do – I felt people called that wrong because we are a tough team to beat at Goodison Park. We defended really well when we had to. Phil Jagielka was outstanding."
Ferguson, meanwhile, admitted his team struggled to get the best out of Van Persie in the short time he was on the pitch in the defeat at Everton.
"We didn't show enough penetration"
Sir Alex Ferguson
The Netherlands international, United's major summer signing from Arsenal, was brought on for the last 22 minutes with his side 1-0 down.
However, he did not register a shot on target as United were unable to threaten Tim Howard's goal in search of an equaliser and Ferguson admitted they lacked a cutting edge.
"We played around him too much, we didn't show enough penetration," said the United boss. "With Robin in your team you know you want to use his ability against centre-backs in situations he is very good at –– but we didn't use him enough."
Ferguson, who saw his side fail to win their opening fixture for the first time since 2008, admitted they failed to cope with Fellaini at the other end as the Everton midfielder dominated a patched-up defence.
Midfielder Michael Carrick pushed into service as an emergency centre-back and Antonio Valencia was deployed at right back due to injuries to Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling.
"He (Fellaini) is a handful: he is a big, tall, gangly lad and they just lumped the ball forward to him, that's all they did," added Ferguson. "They worked from that base all the time and they got a goal from him, so it's justified."
Match report: Everton 1-0 Manchester United