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Magath 'convinced' of Fulham survival

Fulham manager Felix Magath is certain that the Cottagers will win their fight to avoid relegation despite sitting at the bottom of the Premier League.

Felix Magath's reputation as a relegation specialist will be tested at Craven Cottage.
Felix Magath was appointed Fulham boss in February with the club's top-flight future at stake.

• Hotakie: Felix can save Fulham
• Mison: Cottagers collapse

Fulham are four points adrift of safety with 10 games remaining, and travel to fellow strugglers Cardiff on Saturday in desperate need of a victory.

Despite their precarious position, Magath believes that Fulham -- who face six fixtures against teams in the bottom half of the table in the run-in -- can make survival a reality.

"I'm convinced that we will avoid relegation because we've developed in the last 14 days,'' Magath told a news conference.

"The team is growing together and that is what makes me sure that we can avoid relegation.''

Magath admits that three points at Cardiff would provide a welcome boost for the west London club, but the German coach is not too worried about his side's predicament at present.

"These three points are very important for us, not only to step up from the last place, we need a win for ourselves, for our confidence," he continued.

"I get the feeling here that everybody knows that and everybody sleeps well with the knowledge there are games ahead of us we can win.

"We are in London, we are not in Cardiff or Sunderland where the whole city is interested in playing Premier League.

"The atmosphere here is really relaxed for the situation we are in; it's not typical for a team fighting against relegation.

"We have to be aware that we are not only dreaming, but everybody has to put in a shift and push the team and push the players to give their best.''

Magath knows that relaxed approach cannot filter through to his players, but he is undecided if Kostas Mitroglou will feature in Wales, despite the 12 million-pound striker playing an hour for Greece in midweek.

"He is not match fit,'' Magath said. "He played only 60 minutes and has hamstring problems. We have to wait, he comes back today, our doctor has to see him and maybe if he is fit he will play.

"We need a player in our situation who is prepared for 90 minutes [in a] relegation fight.''

Mitroglou's situation has confused Cottagers fans, but Magath insists it is unfair to heap hopes on a player who will take time to adapt to English football.

"The Premier League is the best league in the world, so it cannot be compared with the Greek League," he said. "Every player who comes from the Greek League needs a few weeks to adapt.

"You cannot expect such a lot from a player who is new in the Premier League. You have to give him time to adapt.

"We know that and we make a contract with Mitroglu not for the game against Liverpool or Manchester United, but for the last games. If he's not fit now, he will be fit next week.''

Magath confirmed this was the reason Mitroglou was not risked for the 3-1 defeat to Chelsea, stating "Why should I spoil him in a game like Chelsea? Chelsea is the best defending team in the league and so we would get not many chances against Chelsea.

"He's new and he needs confidence, too. To get used is not good for him and not good for us.''

Lewis Holtby, on loan from Tottenham, also missed the Chelsea game. Magath says the forward -- who played under Magath at Schalke -- is not the right sort of player for a relegation fight, but could feature against the Bluebirds.

"We are not in a normal situation. Now is not the time to play very well, now is the time to fight," he added. "Lewis Holtby is not a fighter. He is very smart, he is a very skilful offensive player who has very good passes.

"A game against Chelsea, the best team in the league, we had not much space to create chances and therefore he was out for that game. Saturday is another game. We will see.''

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