Felix Magath defends his training methods, explaining 'no one has died', as he looks to save Fulham from relegation

German reveals he has cancelled a players' day off on his first Sunday in charge and that he was behind decision to release Meulensteen, Wilkins and Curbishley

For Felix Magath and for Fulham, this was the time for the silliness to stop. This season has been a desperate mess and, with 12 games left, they are still bottom of the table. Magath is their third manager of the season and as he was unveiled at Craven Cottage he made it immediately clear that there was some very hard work ahead in the final three months of the season.

Magath revealed that he had cancelled a players' day off on his first Sunday in charge and that he had been behind the decision to release René Meulensteen, Ray Wilkins and Alan Curbishley. He promised the fans that he would make no concessions to style as he tries to find the six wins required to keep Fulham up. And he promised the players that, as hard as his methods are, the squad should survive them.

"Why should I change my training?" Magath bristled, in nearly perfect English, when asked whether he might moderate his physically demanding ways. "At the moment I am one of the most successful coaches of Germany. Why should I change? I don't know! Can you explain? Until now, everybody has loved my training. No one has died."

Meulensteen was never exactly lacking in self-belief, and neither is Magath, but he has the record to back it up. He has managed three of Germany's biggest clubs, Bayern Munich, Hamburg and Schalke, and has won the Bundesliga three times – twice with Bayern and once, more impressively, with Wolfsburg.

So he expects the players to be receptive to the demands of his approach. "I am sure the players want to stay in the league, so I think they are happy that they had a change. I think they are trusting me that we stay in the league."

Not every player has enjoyed working for him, but that does not bother Magath at all.

"Ask Raul about my work, don't ask a player who doesn't play. Ask the good players and you will get the right answers."

Fulham's players have already felt what it is like working for Magath. Their last game was a 3-2 defeat to Liverpool on 12 February, the day after Magath's first face-to-face meeting with the people who run the club, and his appointment was confirmed last Friday night.

The players were due to take Sunday off training, but Magath thought differently. "The most important thing for me is to get the players together and to work as fast as we can. That is why I called them in on Sunday, because we have no time to get to know each other.

"The players have to know me and they have to try to understand what I want. I have to understand the players and I have to think about what I can ask for."

It was on the following day that Magath came in to, in his phrase, "have a look at the scenery", and he decided that it would be better for Fulham for Wilkins and Curbishley to go, just eight weeks after they were both appointed. Curbishley had already talked Magath through the challenge of facing West Bromwich Albion, Magath's first opponent tomorrow.

"I talked with Curbishley but it's a special situation," explained Magath, who said that it was the only way to move on.

"If you give the players a sign that now it is starting from the beginning, you have also to send someone away, because they get the feel that now it's really from the beginning, not the same as the week before. I'm sorry for that but for Fulham to avoid relegation it was a must."

If it was not clear before, Magath does not favour half-measures. "I decided to really make a cut. If you make one here, one there, it is not the same. I am sorry for that, but I think it is the best for Fulham."

The one area where the new manager will have to compromise is in his tactics. There simply is not the time, with a relegation battle to fight, to play the type of football that he would otherwise favour.

"We have to do what we can at the moment and play to win, not to impress our fans. Sorry for that but they have to be patient for a few months.

"In Germany I put a team together at Wolfsburg that over two years scored the most goals. I had Edin Dzeko and Zvjezdan Misimovic, the best goalscorer, and best assister ever in Germany. So I'm a friend of attacking not defending, but if you are willing to attack you have to be closed in the defence. At the moment, 1-0 is the best result for us.

"German football is beside English football the best football in the world. I hope I can show you that to be a little bit German, it's not so bad for football and for players."

Magath's medals: German's trophy haul

As a player

With Hamburg: European Cup 1983; Cup Winner's Cup 1977, Bundesliga 1978-79, 81-82, 82-83.

With West Germany: European Championship 1980

As a manager

With Stuttgart: Intertoto Cup 2002

With Bayern Munich: Bundesliga 2004-05, 2005-06; German Cup 2004-05, 2005-06

With Wolfsburg: Bundesliga 2008-09

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan