Felix Magath has admitted that he did ask former Fulham captain Brede Hangeland to treat a leg injury by rubbing cheese on to the affected area.
The veteran German manager has also said that he would like another opportunity in English football, despite a disastrous seven months at Craven Cottage, during which Fulham were relegated from the Premier League and then left rooted to the foot of the Championship with one point from seven games.
Magath was replaced by Kit Symons as manager last week, and the 61-year-old’s methods have come under fierce criticism from former players, notably Hangeland, 33, who said: “His main tool is to try and mentally and physically batter his players and then hopefully get some results out of that. Is that a right fit for English football? I don’t think so personally.”
But the former Bayern Munich coach has defended his reputation to German news agency DPA – and attempted to explain the bizarre cheese method: “I merely suggested it could be worth trying the old wives’ tale of applying Quark [a German cheese] to the injured area. I would never tell a doctor what to do.
“I don’t have a guilty conscience. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I am convinced that English football has something to learn from German qualities. Sadly, they’re not that prepared to listen. I think I still have something to offer English football.”
Another former Fulham captain, Danny Murphy, believes that Magath produced a masterclass in how not to run a club during his catastrophic reign.
“All he has to offer is to show other people how not to do it,” said Murphy. “I texted Brede to ask if it was true. He [was advised] to put a lump of cheese soaked in alcohol on his thigh and to leave it on overnight.
“The club doctor, who is no longer at the club, who I know well, didn’t think it was the best idea, but Brede did it regardless.
“It’s one of many ridiculous, sad stories that we’ve heard about Felix that has ultimately cost him his job and put Fulham in a world of trouble, because all the good and experienced players that were here were desperate to leave because of it and did.
“It’s sad that a club as stable as Fulham is now in such a world of trouble. It was a mistake to keep [Magath] in charge after they were relegated. The players I spoke to were desperate to get out because of him.”
Murphy has expressed an interest in taking the Fulham job, although he has not applied for it and has had no contact with the hierarchy.
Symons took charge for Saturday’s match against Blackburn, which Fulham lost 1-0, and will also be in the dug-out for tonight’s Capital One Cup third-round fixture against Doncaster.
“Kit’s a very good coach,” added Murphy, a two-time cup winner who was speaking on behalf of Capital One.
“He took over on Saturday and, although they lost, there were a few more smiles on people’s faces. It’s important they get a win against Doncaster to create confidence.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies