Marouane Fellaini repaid Jose Mourinho’s faith with a late header that gave Manchester United a 2-0 EFL Cup semi-final advantage against injury-ravaged Hull.
The Belgium midfielder has long been a divisive figure at Old Trafford and has even been jeered by pockets of home fans recently.
However, Fellaini has been continually backed by Mourinho and ended Tuesday’s first-leg encounter with the Stretford End chanting his name after he nodded home a late goal to add to Juan Mata’s close-range opener.
It was a late sucker-punch for a Hull side forced to play two midfielders in defence due to injury problems that worsened as Markus Henriksen and Josh Tymon were forced off in their first ever EFL Cup semi-final appearance.
Hull, bottom of the Premier League, equipped themselves well for the most part and it looked like Marco Silva’s men would restrict United to Mata’s 56th-minute goal, which came shortly after Wayne Rooney had passed up a fine chance to notch a record 250th goal for the club.
Paul Pogba hit the post as the Tigers dug deep, before substitute Fellaini rose at the far post to send in a looping header.
The midfielder went over to hug Mourinho after a goal that wrapped up a ninth successive win in all competitions for in-form United.