Juan Mata has admitted that he is delighted to have seen Manchester United teammate Marouane Fellaini score his first goal of the season and believes that manager Jose Mourinho is now filling him with confidence.
The Belgium international endured another tough first half to the season at Old Trafford and was even jeered by his own fans the week after conceding a late penalty against former club Everton.
Mourinho has stuck by Fellaini in recent weeks, however, and turned to the powerful midfielder from the bench during Tuesday evening's EFL Cup semi-final clash with Hull City - a match that saw him get off the mark with his first goal since April 23.
Mata believes that Fellaini could now be ready to push on at United following the confidence-boosting header, which sealed a 2-0 first-leg victory for the Red Devils ahead of the return tie on Humberside in two weeks' time.
"Maybe Marouane feels that the manager has belief in him and that is why he celebrated like that," Mata told reporters. "I am very happy for Marouane because he has had difficult times since he came to the club. But he is a great guy. He is a great person. He trains always the best he can. It was an important goal for him and when you come onto the pitch in the second half you are always trying to do something to change the game and he did that.
"I am very happy because he deserved it. He always gets on very well with everyone. Since I came here he was a good friend of mine and everyone in the dressing room. Everybody was happy for his goal. When a team-mate is not in the best situation and it is difficult for him we have to be there to support him. I think this will be a boost for his confidence. It was good to hear the stadium singing his name because he deserved it.
"He is a strong man with experience. He is not a young player. He is 29 so he has lived so many things in football but it is not nice when you play in your own stadium and you have not the best atmosphere. But now it is different and it has changed. I think it is going to be positive for him in the future. It makes it easier for you as a player when you feel the confidence of everyone. You feel an even better player. Confidence is very important for any player and hopefully Marouane now has his back."
Fellaini, who celebrated his goal by running to the touchline to hug manager Mourinho, has appeared 21 times for United this season in all competitions.