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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test