Marouane Fellaini has explained Manchester United’s pre-match huddle before the Champions League match against Valencia was organised to display a show of unity.
It was pretty rare for a United team as all 11 players gathered just around the edge of the centre-circle and got together, with arms around each other and a moment was spent rallying the troops.
The team group embrace has become commonplace at a number of clubs over many years but regular United watchers could not recall seeing the Reds employ the pre-match battle cry to show team spirit.
But after a difficult start to the campaign, the starting XI against Valencia ahead of the Group H tie decided on the public display of harmony.
Fellaini was asked after the 0-0 draw against the Spaniards why United had decided to act and go into a huddle seconds before the start of the match.
“Everyone is going in the same direction, to try to improve and to do better,
“ he said. ”I think we wanted to show that we are together.
The Belgian, who performed in midfield, also revealed it was a group decision when asked who had come up with the suggestion.
“Everybody,” he replied.
“I think everybody is behind the manager. We have to do our best and do our job. We showed it [against Valencia] but we have to do better on Saturday. The spirit is there. You saw it today but we have to win on Saturday [against Newcastle].
It was naturally disappointing that United could not build on the win against Young Boys with another three points in a difficult group but Fellaini felt the display was a marked improvement on the showing in the 3-1 reverse to West Ham United last weekend.
“It was a bad day against West Ham,” he accepted.
“We were all bad. Today, I think we showed improvement and we have to keep going. It was much better than West Ham. We put in energy, effort, we ran forward, we tried to score the goal. We have to keep going.
“We have to continue to work hard. We have the next game on Saturday (against Newcastle at Old Trafford in the Premier League, kick-off 17.30 BST) so it is another chance to do better. We have to work hard and try to win.
“It is always good to win the game before the break for internationals. So, yes, it's important.”