Felix Magath slams Lewis Holtby loan move after claiming 'he is not a fighter' and feels he was too soft on players after Fulham were relegated

Holtby joined the Cottagers on loan from Tottenham in January but was unable to save Fulham from relegation to the Championship

Fulham manager Felix Magath has slammed midfielder Lewis Holtby, insisting the Tottenham loanee is not a fighter and made the wrong move in joining the Cottagers.

Relegation from the Barclays Premier League was sealed after a 4-1 defeat at Stoke last weekend and Magath's side may finish the campaign bottom of the table if they fail to beat Crystal Palace on Sunday.

The club signed seven players in January to improve their position in the table, including Holtby, who was expected to add creativity and energy to Fulham's survival bid.

Magath sent the 23-year-old out on loan twice when they previously worked together at Schalke and the pair have again failed to gel at Craven Cottage.

Holtby has scored just once in 13 appearances and in his last two games the midfielder has been substituted after 34 minutes at Stoke and at half-time against Hull.

"Lewis is a very skilful and a nice player but he is not a fighter - I think it was not the right move for him," Magath said.

"I think he has put too much pressure on himself.

"Against Hull it was not him who was playing and against Stoke it was even worse.

 

Magath added: "It was too early, he came here for a chance to go to the World Cup but after a few weeks it was clear it wasn't working.

"It was not the right decision for him."

Magath, who arrived in February with a reputation as a tough task master, admits he may have been too soft on his players since taking charge.

"The players told me they cannot fight, I don't know why," he said.

"They cannot fight, they haven't learned it."

Magath continued: "Have I been too soft on them? Maybe.

"At the end of the day you can't find one reason and blame that for relegation.

"I didn't take on something that could be cured easily, we were bottom of the table and things were very messed up."

Magath is determined to put faith in Fulham's talented crop of youngsters as he looks to build a new team ready for the Championship.

The average age of his starting XI against Stoke last weekend was 29 while there were seven Fulham players aged 30 or older.

Magath insists age is not his only consideration however - he wants players who feel an affinity with Fulham.

"We want to keep players here but for me it is very important the player feels an identification with the club and with the team - that is what we have to build up," he said.

"If there are players who think there is a better club for them and if they want to go they can leave, they just have to find us a club who is ready to buy him.

"We only want to take care of players who identify with Fulham and that is going to be the basis of our team for the future."

PA

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own