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Crystal Palace (A) Sat 31 Jan 2015, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

United Opener Excites Fellaini

by Andy Lewis @efc_andylewis

Marouane Fellaini insists facing Manchester United up first is the type of challenge Everton thrive upon.

The deposed champions remain one of the most formidable teams in England but the Blues time and again have saved their best for the top sides.

Last season a stunning comeback at Old Trafford earned them a 4-4 draw and proved hugely significant in United relinquishing their league crown.

And Fellaini, who hopes to shrug off a minor groin injury to play on Monday night, told evertontv the Blues can once again rise to the challenge.

“The 4-4 was a fantastic game and we played really well but this is a new game,” said the Belgian, man-of-the-match and scorer of Everton's second goal that day.

“Man United is a big team in England and last year they almost won the title and would have done but Man City won the last game.

“But it is good for us to play a big team in the first game. It is a big test for us.”

He added: “For me I am preparing for the game in the gym because I have some tightness in my groin so I work every day and look forward to the game and hope that the team can play well and we will try to win. It is important for the supporters.

“In pre-season we have not won every game, we have drawn some, lost at the weekend and at Blackpool but that is not important – Monday is the real test.”

The Blues have finished seventh for the past two seasons and could count themselves extremely unfortunate not to gain Europa League qualification.

Fellaini, however, says this can be the season where they book a return to continental competition.

“I always start with confidence and so do the rest of the team,” he added.

“Everton needs to start well as we can qualify for the Europa League or the Champions League if we do.

“Every year we finish really well, but if we can start and finish really well then we will be in Europe.”

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