Magath quiet on Meulensteen future
Newly-appointed Fulham manager Felix Magath would not be drawn on the future of predecessor Rene Meulensteen, preferring instead to focus on his belief that his bottom-placed side can beat the drop.
With the West Londoners four points adrift of safety with 12 matches remaining, the club took drastic action on Friday by replacing Meulensteen at the helm after just 75 days.
The deposed Dutchman was not mentioned in the club statement announcing Magath's appointment and went on the radio minutes later to claim chief executive Alistair Mackintosh had told him that he had been “released.”
However, Press Association Sport understands Meulensteen has not been sacked by Fulham, nor have assistant manager Ray Wilkins or first-team technical director Alan Curbishley.
Magath wants to review the backroom team before any such decisions are made and would not shed any light on the situation in his first interview since taking charge of the Premier League's bottom side.
“We signed last Friday night, so the time is too short to make up our mind about this stuff,'' he said. “I have only time now to work with the players and prepare the team for the most important game next Saturday. We will talk about the stuff afterwards.''
Magath's focus might be on next weekend's trip to fellow strugglers West Brom, but questions will continue over Meulensteen in particular.
With Fulham having sacked Martin Jol after a poor run of form, Meulensteen, appointed as coach under his countryman just weeks earlier, took control of first-team duties on Dec. 1.
Meulensteen's 75-day spell in charge was ended by Magath's arrival, but his staff profile remains on the Fulham website, as does those of Wilkins and Curbishley.
That, though, is of little interest to the experienced German, who is confident of keeping the club in the top flight despite their precarious position.
“Yeah, I am sure I can [keep Fulham up] because I have done it sometimes before in Germany,'' Magath told Fulham TV. “I have taken over clubs in a similar situation to Fulham and I am very confident I can do it once more here in England with Fulham.
“I think 12 games are enough to keep them in the Premier League and we need confidence now. We need spirit and we will start next Saturday at West Bromwich. If the players, the staff and fans will support us 100 percent and the players give 100 percent in the next days, I am sure we have the potential to avoid relegation.''
Magath took his first training session at the club's Motspur Park training ground on Sunday and was pleasantly “surprised'' by the qualities his new side possess.
“I know not only the German players, but the international players very well,'' the 60-year-old, who has worked with Lewis Holtby, Sascha Riether and Ashkan Dejagah previously, said.
“I would think that we would have a team that has more potential than what we have shown. I am sure that we will do that in the next games, show our fans, who I hope will support us in our most important game next weekend against West Bromwich, that we can do better than our last games.''