Felix Magath: I'm afraid of relegation
Published 21/02/2014 | 13:44
New Fulham manager Felix Magath is confident he can be a fast learner when being thrown in at the deep end of a Barclays Premier League relegation battle at West Brom.
The 60-year-old German certainly brings a wealth of experience to a first coaching role in England, winning the European Cup as a player at Hamburg and also reaching two World Cup finals with Die Mannschaft in the 1980s.
However, despite delivering the Bundesliga title three times from spells at Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg, renowned disciplinarian Magath accepts coming into the cut-and-thrust of a scrap for survival in the most hectic domestic championship of them all is a whole new ball game.
"Sure it is a little bit better if you know all of the players in the league, but over the last year, I have seen many games from England (on television) when I was at home," said Magath, who was comfortable with the departures of Rene Meulensteen, assistant manager Ray Wilkins and first-team technical director Alan Curbishley in a clean break of Fulham's support staff.
"I have played against English clubs and also the national team, for clubs I have managed against English teams, Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester (United).
"I don't know as much about the players as you, but I think I know enough from England, the Premier League and from football."
Reports had suggested former Wolves boss Mark McGhee, who played alongside Magath at Hamburg, was set to join the support team at Craven Cottage.
However, Magath said: "There is no plan to bring in anybody else - at the moment I am not thinking about that.
"I know Mark very well, not only from when we played together, and I also visited him when he was manager at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
"So I know him, he is a friend of mine, but at the moment I only focus on the next game.
"I don't think about the next season or who can join me, because I am only focused on winning games."
The likes of Iran international winger Ashkan Dejagah, defender Sascha Riether and on-loan midfielder Lewis Holtby have all worked with Magath before.
The new Fulham boss intends to fully examine the depth of his squad, who have been given extra fitness sessions ahead of the trip to the Hawthorns.
"I have to cut down the number of players in the team (squad) because we have to concentrate and get together," he said.
"If we have too many players, then we have too many influences.
"Sorry for that, but it is the only way to concentrate, to focus on the next game.
"If the player has not been here long enough to accept the English way of playing English football, then I cannot use him."
Magath added: "I don't care if a player has been here 20 years or two months, that does not play a role.
"I only have to see how they can play, what he is willing to do and I just have to put 11 players together to work as well as they can together.
"We will have a chance if every player helps each other and if we do, then I think we are on the right way."
Magath has targetted six wins from the final 12 games to pull off what would be a remarkable escape, with Fulham currently four points adrift of safety and with a far inferior goal difference to their rivals.
"Every manager tells you every time, it is the biggest challenge," he said.
"I am proud to be here, but I am (also) a little bit afraid to (not be able to) stay in the Premier League.
"I know what I want to do and am convinced we can avoid relegation, but just ask (Manchester City boss) Mr (Manuel) Pellegrini, because you never know what can happen in a game, you cannot influence it some times.
"I am sure we are on the right way and will be able to avoid (relegation), but sometimes it depends on things we have no influence on."