MANCHESTER, England — Marouane Fellaini is vital to Manchester United, according to teammate Victor Lindelof.
Fellaini came off the bench to score the winner against Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday. Out of contract in the summer, he could leave for free at the end of the season, but Jose Mourinho has claimed a new deal “is close.”
And after watching Fellaini snatch a stoppage-time goal against Arsenal, Lindelof has explained why the club want him to stay.
“He’s a strong player and is very important for us, especially at the end of the game when we have a lot of the ball and we attack,” the defender told MUTV. “He gives us some more options, he can go into the box and he’s very dangerous in there, so he’s a very important player for us.”
Three points against Arsenal guaranteed United at least a top-four finish this season.
Another four from their final three games against Brighton, West Ham and Watford will secure second place and their highest finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
“We always want to play in the Champions League,” Lindelof added. “Manchester United, as a club, should always play in the Champions League, so we are very happy for that and, right now, we are focusing on keeping second place and that’s what we work for every week now.
“We just have to try to do our job out there and we did that during some parts of the game and some parts we didn’t play that well, but we got the three points and we are very happy for that.”
Lindelof endured a slow start to his United career after a £31 million move from Benfica last summer.
He didn’t start a Premier League game until November but on Sunday was preferred to Eric Bailly, who dd not make the squad for the second consecutive match.
“I’ve really enjoyed it,” Lindelof said. “There are still a few games left and we’re going to just keep focusing on that. It’s been a good season for me, I just want to keep working hard and I’m looking forward to next season.”
Rob is ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.