Magath sticks to his guns
Published 20/02/2014 | 23:47
New Fulham manager Felix Magath sees no reason to change the strict training regimes which have helped turn his German teams into winners - declaring "no-one has died".
The 60-year-old replaced Dutch coach Rene Meulensteen last week and the west London club's third manager of a rollercoaster season has been charged with lifting Fulham out of the relegation zone with only 12 league games remaining.
Magath won the 1983 European Cup as a player with Hamburg and appeared in two World Cup finals before moving into the dugout where he earned a reputation as "the fireman", taking over in difficult circumstances to great success at Nurnberg, Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt before joining Stuttgart, whom he guided to Intertoto Cup success at 2002, which brought him to the attention of Bayern Munich.
Successive Bundesliga titles followed, and Magath would go on to also guide Wolfsburg to the domestic championship in 2008-09.
Magath's reputation was built on tough discipline - with one former player Eintracht Frankfurt player Bachirou Salou labelling him as the "last dictator in Europe".
The new Fulham manager, however, will not be about to alter his methods for what is unknown territory in the English game, having already called the Fulham squad in for extra sessions since his arrival.
"Why should I change my training? At the moment I am the most successful (club) coach of Germany. Why should I change?" he said.
"I don't know. Can you explain? Until now everybody has loved my training. No-one died."
Magath added: "I am a nice guy, very nice (not a tough guy)," he said.
"Ask Raul about my work, don't ask a player who did not know here in England. Ask the good players and you will get the right answers."
Magath had been out of work since leaving Wolfsburg for the second time in October 2012.
The German, though, expressed limited sympathy for Meulensteen, his assistant manager Ray Wilkins and first-team technical director Alan Curbishley, who have all left Craven Cottage under a clean break after results were not turned around despite plenty of support from owner Shahid Khan in the January transfer window.
"I had to talk with him (Curbishley) about football and he gave me information about West Brom (away on Saturday), was very good, very nice, but I decided to make a real cut," Magath said.
"If you make one here, one there, it is not the same.
"We have good relations and I know he is a very good manager who knows the English league well.
"So I am sorry for that, but I think it is the best for Fulham."
Magath is set to leave his squad in no uncertain terms of what is expected as they aim to haul themselves off the bottom and make up what is currently a four-point deficit ahead of Saturday's trip to the Hawthorns, which is followed by the visit of west London neighbours Chelsea on March 1.
"We have to do what we can at the moment and play to win, not to impress our fans. Sorry for that, but they have to be patient for a few months," he said.
"I am sure the players want to stay in the league, so I think they are happy that they had a change.
"I think they are trusting me that we stay in the league."
Magath added: "The most important thing for me is to get the players together and to work as fast as we can, that is why I called them to come on Sunday because we have no time to get to know each other.
"The players have to know me and they have to try to understand what I want, I have to understand the players and I have to think about what I can ask for.
"For me it is not the most important thing to know what they did four weeks ago, because that is the past.
"It is important what they do now and what I can ask for."