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Feb 17, 2014

Lewis Holtby welcomes Magath arrival

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti has his say on Fulham's hiring of new manager, Felix Magath.

Fulham midfielder Lewis Holtby says he does not fear new manager Felix Magath, despite enduring a frustrating experience playing under him in the past.

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Holtby, 23, joined the West London side on loan for the rest of the season from Tottenham in January.

While still at Spurs, though, the Germany international welcomed the potential arrival of Louis van Gaal at White Hart Lane following Andre Villas-Boas’ sacking, telling Bild: “I wouldn’t have a problem if Van Gaal came in. After all, I’ve survived Felix Magath too.”

Now, however, Holtby will play under Magath for the second time in his career, after the German was appointed as Fulham boss last week.

He also spent time with Magath at Schalke, where he was shipped out for two consecutive loan spells at Bochum and Mainz after only nine games under the former Bayern Munich boss. Holtby did not return before Magath was sacked by the Royal Blues in 2011.

“I don’t have any fear,” Holtby told Sport Bild. “From my point of view, it’s being hyped up right now. I have grown as a player and my time under Magath is already five years away. We are both in Fulham to reach one goal and that is staying up. Everything else is secondary.”

Holtby, though, admitted that the Magath appointment had taken him by surprise.

“At the weekend, I was in Denmark visiting my girlfriend’s family. I booked a flight for Sunday afternoon, but since the first training session under Felix Magath was scheduled on such short notice for Sunday morning, I had to return a day early,” Holtby said. “The news was of course a big surprise.”

Meanwhile, Lothar Matthaeus has hit out at former Germany teammate Magath.

Matthaeus said he does not understand how Magath could join Fulham, when as recently as last Thursday he had been flirting with a return to Hamburg.

“He offers himself as a saviour [at Hamburg] and at the same time is negotiating with an English club,” Matthaeus told Sky on Saturday. “I believe what Magath has done is a no-go. He has fooled many people.”

Former Germany and Hamburg goalkeeper Uli Stein, who won the European Cup in 1983 with Magath, also joined in on the act.

“Felix Magath wanted to reintroduce dictatorship in Hamburg,” he told Sky. “He demanded everything because he had Fulham in his back hand.”

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