After inspiring Belgium to a come-from behind 2-1 win over Algeria in their World Cup opener, Marouane Fellaini said he was confident of scoring after coming from the bench.
Fellaini, who scored the equaliser for the Red Devils with his trademark header in the 70th minute, insisted that he could have ended with a hattrick after winning all three balls in the box against the Desert Warriors.
"I always believe, and I thought that, yes, if the coach gives me the call, I can help us win this match," Fellaini said. "One thing I know is that if my team-mates put crosses in the box for me, I can score goals. And you saw it today. Three times the ball came in for me and every time I won the header. I could have had a hat-trick."
The Manchester United midfielder accepted that they were a bit nervous at the start, but managed to clinch the encounter by making right decisions at the end.
"I'm just glad that one went in though because we were beginning to run out of time, and it was important we took one of our chances," he said. "In the end, I think we got what we deserved. We started very nervously and played badly in the first half."
After a difficult past few months with the English Premier League side Manchester United, where he mainly warmed the bench, the 26-year-old was relieved with his performance in the opening fixture.
"I'm really happy, both for myself and for the team," relieved Fellaini said. "Scoring at a World Cup was a great moment for me and I immediately thought about my family, who always supported me through the years no matter what. Everything they did for me led to that moment."
Half the Belgium goals in the World Cup qualifiers were scored by substitutes and they continued the trend in the finals as well. After Fellaini, Dries Mertens, coming from the bench, scored the winner ten minutes before the final whistle.
The former Everton man stressed that Belgium have a lot of depth in the squad and players on the bench are more than capable of performing against tough opponents.
"Everyone can see that it was guys who came off the bench who made the difference today," said the midfielder. "That's always possible with this team anyway because you know that we have a lot of strength throughout the squad. It's not just about the first 11 with us."
"And although it was me and the other two today, there are others who stayed on the bench who can be big and important players for Belgium at this World Cup," he added.