Former Premier League referee Howard Webb has branded Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini a “thug” for throwing elbows.
The Belgian international was in the thick of the action again on Thursday night, with United crashing out of the Europa League after a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford against Liverpool.
With Jurgen Klopp’s side prevailing 3-1 on aggregate, United will now focus their attention on domestic matters, although there is still a cloud hanging over their midfielder.
Fellaini seemingly got away with using his elbows to gain leverage in the first half as he caught Roberto Firmino, but there appeared to be a more vicious action in the second period as he swung his arm with a clenched fist and caught Dejan Lovren.
It followed another controversial incident from the first leg involving Emre Can, and Webb has seemingly had enough of it and believes that action needs to be taken against the former Everton man.
“It’s one thing imposing yourself on the game, but another thing being a thug on the pitch,” he told BT Sport, as noted by ESPN FC.
“[Fellaini] can’t play without throwing his elbows around. I think he should have been suspended for [the incident in the first leg] but UEFA never looked at it. This ongoing battle with Can continues, he throws an arm — reckless in my opinion, not violent, worth a yellow card.
“But this one’s a red card. Dejan Lovren is holding him — is that an excuse to throw an arm? No, of course not. He clenches his fist, he puts force into the elbow, the point of the elbow into the back of the head, and he should have been sent off.”
It has been an issue that has tarnished his reputation throughout his career, as although there are often instances where he is innocent of using his arms without malice, there are other incidents where it appears as though he is guilty.
It is unlikely that Fellaini will be able to change his technique of jumping to win headers at this stage of his career, which in turn presents a problem for United as he evidently risks seeing red each time he takes to the field.