Football News

Why did Jose Mourinho call Soucek David Moyes’ ‘new Fellaini’?

By Chris Smith

Tomas Soucek: Is West Ham midfielder really the 'new Fellaini'? | Squawka

Published: 11:30, 19 October 2020

Jose Mourinho declared Tomas Soucek as David Moyes’ ‘new Marouane Fellaini’ in the wake of Tottenham’s 3-3 draw with West Ham United on Sunday.

Spurs raced into a 3-0 lead within 16 minutes of the London derby with Harry Kane setting up Son Heung-min for the sixth time in the Premier League this season before adding another two himself in a world-class first-half performance.

However, despite keeping the Hammers out until the 82nd minute, Mourinho’s side collapsed with Fabian Balbuena heading West Ham back into the game, Davinson Sanchez heading into his own net and Manuel Lanzini scoring what could be the goal of the season in the final minute to complete a remarkable turnaround.


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Although West Ham were largely ineffective from open play throughout the match, Moyes’ side asserted their off-the-ground dominance over Spurs with 18 aerial duels won to 15. Eight of those were won by Soucek alone, prompting Mourinho to draw comparisons with Fellaini — who has been managed by the Portuguese and Moyes down the years — during a post-match interview.

“I told them to be aware of set-pieces against, which we knew they were very strong,” he said. “David found in [Tomas] Soucek his new [Marouane] Fellaini. They fought very hard to be lucky, so I praise them.

“This is a game that was in the pocket and we lost two points.”

Is Mourinho’s comparison right?

Although only one of Soucek’s headers on Sunday was in the opposition box, the Czech Republic international has won more aerial duels in the opposition box (25) than any other part of the pitch in the Premier League since joining West Ham in January.

The 25-year-old has already scored two of his three goals for West Ham via his head, too, proving he is quite the threat from crosses and set-pieces.

During his time in the English top-flight, Fellaini won no fewer than 895 aerial duels, placing him seventh on the all-time list since such records began, according to the official Premier League website.

The former Belgium international — who now plies his trade in China with Shandong Luneng — also scored 15 headed goals during his spells with Everton and Manchester United between 2008 and 2019, placing him 17th in the Premier League’s all-time list.

Fellaini was always a menace from set-pieces and was often fielded by both Moyes and Mourinho as a make-shift striker during an injury crisis or when their sides needed a late goal.

Marouane Fellaini’s Football Index profile

“Everybody knows Marouane is not Maradona but everyone knows what Marouane is and what he can give. In this moment, especially this season and also last season he did many times what strikers couldn’t do which is score goals in important moments.

“I think now he’s getting [the credit he deserves],” Mourinho said of Fellaini during their time together at Old Trafford in 2018. “I think until I came [to Man Utd] he probably didn’t, but I think now everyone gives him what he deserves.

“Everybody knows Marouane is not Maradona but everyone knows what Marouane is and what he can give. In this moment, especially this season and also last season he did many times what strikers couldn’t do which is score goals in important moments.

“Marouane has more balance and know-how but he’s very important in both boxes, in the first third and in the last third.”