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?
Life and Style
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
science
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
Sport
Mario Balotelli posed for this selfie during AC Milan's 5-1 defeat to Manchester City
sport
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth Games
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + ents
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
Extras
indybestSpice up your knife with our selection of delicious toppings
Sport
sport
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
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

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried