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
Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Midsummer swimwear season is well and truly upon us – but diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice