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'Moyes is like a father . . . I could never say something bad'

With his vast, spongy mop of black hair, Marouane Fellaini could almost cut it in a Thin Lizzy tribute band with a hirsute homage to the late, great Phil Lynott.

Fellaini backing manager
Fellaini backing manager

The boy was back in town yesterday promoting some new clobber in Glasgow, six months after helping Belgium clobber Scotland at Hampden en route to qualification for the World Cup.

One Scot Fellaini will not put the boot into though is David Moyes, his embattled manager at Manchester United. Having brought the 26-year-old to English football during his time at the helm of Everton, Moyes' relationship with the Belgian midfielder runs deep. "He is like a father," admitted Fellaini, who has experienced the kind of skelp around the lug from Moyes usually reserved for mischievous wee nyaffs. "When I arrived at Everton I learned a lot from him. Last season when I was suspended for the Stoke City game he was very hard on me. He made me go back out and train alone with him. I was like his son. It's important for me that when I am good he tells me. And when I am bad he does the same. I could never say something bad about him because he has done everything for me. It was six years ago that I first met him. He watched me when I played in Belgium for Standard Liege for two years and he decided to go for me. I can only say thank you because I learned so much from him."

Since joining Moyes in Manchester, Fellaini has struggled to live up to his £27.5m price tag. Injuries have not helped during a stuttering campaign for the English champions in which the turbulent handover of the reins from one Scot to another has caused much girning and teeth gnashing. Out of both cups, 18 points off the Premier League pace and in danger of being knocked out of the Champions League? It's hardly been a seamless transition but Fellaini is standing by Moyes. A busy, effective performance in a 3-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion showed what Fellaini is capable of and the Brussels-born player is eager to repay the faith his Scottish mentor has shown in him.

"This season there have been a lot of difficult moments," he said ahead of this weekend's grudge match with Liverpool. "But I think we will come good. Next season, I think we will fight for the title. I think what makes United different is that they stand by managers. You look at the career of Sir Alex Ferguson and he managed the club for 26 years. You have to give David Moyes time as well. He is a strong character. That's why he can take the pressure. Given time, he will be good for Manchester United.

"For me, he is the same coach. He works hard. There is no change there. He has always worked incredibly hard and that's why he is the manager of Manchester United.It's his first year at a new club and it's difficult for any new manager in the first year. They had the same manager for years and to change that is not easy for anyone. I think over the next couple of games, we can show our qualities."

Fellaini was speaking at Greaves Sports, Glasgow where he was promoting the new Warrior football boot. Warrior boots are available at greavessports.com

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