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The giant Belgian has found it difficult winning over some United fans but there can be no doubting his worth to the side right now

The sight of Paul Pogba limping away from Manchester United’s return to Champions League action against Basel in early September had many their supporter worried, particularly when it was Marouane Fellaini called upon to take the Frenchman’s place.

Such is the Belgian’s reputation among some factions of United’s fan base, he has become something of a figure of fun during his time at Old Trafford. His sometimes-clumsy style of play has been a slow burner with supporters of a club who have done their best to pride themselves on slick football over a period of many decades.

But since Pogba’s absence, Fellaini has turned in a run of form which has had Jose Mourinho delivering countless superlatives, and on Saturday he netted twice as United brushed aside Premier League bottom-dwellers Crystal Palace 4-0 at Old Trafford.

Fellaini’s value to United has been greatly understated since being David Moyes’ figurehead signing in the summer of 2013, but there can be few doubting his current run of form. While Mourinho confirmed on Friday that Pogba’s injury is a long-term problem, his side have certainly not missed their £89.5 million midfielder thanks to Fellaini’s impact to the side and the revelation that has been Nemanja Matic.

Having scored the opener after relieving Pogba against Basel, Fellaini played a key role in the 4-0 win against former club Everton which followed and was then one of their stand-out players once more as they saw off a spirited Southampton at St Mary’s last time out.

“He’s a very important player for me, much more important than what you can imagine,” said Mourinho recently.

“Ander Herrera was Player of the Season and he’s not starting matches. That’s life in big clubs. We gave Michael Carrick a contract because we think he is a good player. We think he is an important player.

"He is just in a team where at this moment Matic and Fellaini are in the best form that I have ever seen them in.”