Fulham sack Meulensteen and bring in Felix Magath

Former Bayern Munich coach Felix Magath has taken over at Fulham. Picture: GettyFormer Bayern Munich coach Felix Magath has taken over at Fulham. Picture: Getty
Former Bayern Munich coach Felix Magath has taken over at Fulham. Picture: Getty
Fulham have taken drastic action in their bid to beat relegation by sacking Rene Meulensteen and appointing Felix Magath as first-team manager.

Former Manchester United coach Meulensteen was appointed head coach under Martin Jol, only to take control of first-team duties on 1 December following his compartiot’s sacking.

However, with the bottom-placed west Londoners four points adrift of Barclays Premier League safety chairman Shahid Khan has wielded the axe again. Magath has been installed as first-team manager on an 18-month contract, with Meulensteen confirming his exit from the club despite the club statement not mentioning his name.

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Magath arrives at Craven Cottage with an impressive CV, having led Bayern Munich to successive Bundesliga titles in 2005 and 2006, before achieving the same feat with Wolfsburg in 2009.

Khan told the club’s official website: “Felix is an accomplished manager with multiple honours in the Bundesliga and a hunger to replicate his success with Fulham in the Barclays Premier League.

“I’m especially impressed with the reputation Felix has for coming into clubs at difficult times, often late in the season, and lifting them to their potential and beyond.”

Nevertheless, the decision to sack Meulensteen took the football world by surprise – last Sunday he led the club to a 2-2 draw at Manchester United and on Wednesday his side gave Liverpool a stern test before going down 3-2.

Meulensteen was informed of the decision by chief executive Alistair Mackintosh and believes the decision to press the “panic button” was wrong.

“I am very, very surprised, very disappointed, very frustrated as well, because the job that I stepped into was one that took me by surprise from the start, because that was not anticipated with Martin Jol leaving and obviously you then have to step into situation which is not the best,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“You need to make things better as soon as you can, but you’re playing with a deck of cards that are not yours.

“I haven’t really been given any time to make that work. I thought the performance against Manchester United and Liverpool were very, very good and it was unfortunate that we did not pick up the points that we deserved.

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“Twelve games to go, plenty of points to play for and I’m sure we would have turned it around.

“They’ve hit the panic button on emotions of fear, but hey-ho, that’s what happens in football. It’s not always fair.”