Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini is looking forward to a “strange” FA Cup semi-final against former club Everton.
The last time United played Everton in the FA Cup, Fellaini was wearing blue.
On Saturday, he will be in United red as he looks to reverse the outcome last time around, when Everton won on penalties in 2009.
“I played against United that day and won, but that is in the past and I want to win again this time with United,” said the Belgium international.
A lot has changed for both teams since then.
United have gone from regular Premier League winners under Alex Ferguson to mere top-four contenders under Louis van Gaal, while Everton have failed to put themselves in the continental football picture under Roberto Martinez, languishing in the bottom half of the table.
Fellaini moved from Everton to United in 2013 as David Moyes’ marquee signing, and while he has fond memories of his former club and the day they knocked United out on penalties at Wembley, he said he was putting sentiment to the side.
“It’s always strange to play against your former team, but we know what we have to do. We want to be in the final and we have one more step to take,” he said.
An FA Cup triumph would gloss over much of what has been an average season at best for United, in which the highs of wins over Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool have been cancelled out by the failure to challenge for the Premier League, and Champions League elimination at the group stage.
But Fellaini said any match at Wembley was one to savour.
“It’s a special stadium and there will be a lot of emotion on the day,” he said.
“Teams can tire at this time of the season, so you want to stay fresh in your head and mind, so you can do your best. But the most important thing is the result.
“I enjoy my role and whenever the manager puts me in the team, I always give everything. He trusts me, he knows what I can do.
“The manager and his staff know my qualities and that gives me confidence.”