Rene Meulensteen joins Fulham - to work alongside Martin Jol, rather than replace him

The Dutchman had been linked with the vacancy at Crystal Palace

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Fulham have announced that Rene Meulensteen has been appointed as head coach - but rather than sacking current manager Martin Jol, the new man will work alongside the beleaguered Dutchman.

Meulensteen had been strongly linked with the vacancy at Crystal Palace, but instead joins the Cottagers with immediate effect.

The appointment comes as Fulham slipped into the bottom three following three straight league defeats that had been a serious concern for the west London club.  In the recent games against Manchester United and Liverpool, the Cottagers were 3-0 down at half-time and showed few signs of promise.

Jol had been the bookmakers' favourite to be the next Premier League to be sacked but the appointment of Meulensteen appears to have given the former Tottenham and Ajax manager a reprieve.

Fulham chief executive officer, Alistair Mackintosh said: “We’re all delighted to welcome Rene to Fulham. There was always going to be a battle for Rene’s services and, with the assistance of our Chairman Shahid Khan, we’ve been able to bring one of the best coaches in the world to Fulham.”

Meulensteen comes with a high pedigree having worked at Manchester United for more than a decade and alongside Sir Alex Ferguson during a second spell at Old Trafford between 2007 and last summer. It's understood that Jol wanted to bring Meulensteen to Craven Cottage during the summer.

Meulensteen said: “I was impressed by the vision of Shahid Khan and Alistair Mackintosh. I’ve spent many hours talking with Martin Jol and we share a vision of how football should be played and how players should be developed. It’s our job to make sure we can bring this vision to life on the pitch for the fans.”

Fulham's next game is at home to Swansea before an away trip to fellow strugglers West Ham.