independent

Friday 25 April 2014

Meulensteen has staff to avoid drop

Rene Meulensteen is happy with Fulham's backroom staff

Rene Meulensteen has confirmed he will not make any further additions to his Fulham backroom staff.

Meulensteen replaced Martin Jol as full-time Fulham boss on December 1.

The former Manchester United coach has since recruited Ray Wilkins as assistant head coach and Alan Curbishley as first team technical director, to complete his management line-up.

Now Meulensteen hopes his experienced backroom duo can help persuade owner Shahid Khan to invest in new signings during the January transfer window.

He said: "I think I've done really well already, so no, I'm very happy with the situation we have at the moment.

"I felt he (Curbishley) strengthens my team, It's so important to have the right people around you, and that's what we've been doing.

"We've got a nice, dynamic staff around me, with some young guys that I know from a long time ago that understand my principles and values, and I've got Alan Curbishley and Ray Wilkins in as two people with vast experience in management.

"All that can only contribute to making sure we've got a better chance of staying in the Premier League.

"Any successful manager in any walk of life gets the right people around them.

"And I've felt I needed some more people with good expertise, with good experience around me, and I think both of them fit the bill perfectly."

Confident Khan will free up funds for new recruits in the transfer window, Meulensteen said he will draw on Curbishley and Wilkins to convince Fulham's new owner to dig deep.

He said: "I've been assured I'm going to get the support I need.

"Whatever funds I don't know, we haven't really spoken about that.

"The most important thing is that we've had good, open and honest discussions with the owner.

"He knows how important it is for us to stay in the Premier League, and with the additions of Alan and Ray it will make our case even stronger, that if we do think we need to improve and we need support, that we can put an even stronger case forward.

"And I'm sure he will support that.

"We just have to look at what's possible and what's available.

"We might have a wish-list to some extent, but it may very well not be possible.

"We'll look at every opportunity, and everything that will improve us, we'll put a case forward for it.

"We have to be realistic about how this disappointing start to the season has occurred, after the changeover of owners, and to some extent Martin Jol has been caught in the middle of that."

Dimitar Berbatov and Adel Taarabt will face late fitness tests ahead of the New Year's Day Barclays Premier League home clash with West Ham.

Meulensteen has backed stand-in goalkeeper David Stockdale to shrug off last weekend's 6-0 humbling at Hull, with Maarten Stekelenburg still sidelined.

He said: "That's why you make sure you reassure the boy.

"I thought he was excellent against Norwich, and I had a chat with him before that.

"I said: This is what number two goalkeepers do, they train day in day out, not knowing whether they'll play or not, and this is what you train for'.

"Now it's making sure you stand up, command your area, deal with things in a proper way and I thought against Norwich he was excellent.

"I think David just fell victim to what was unfolding in front of him, yes we could have defended some of them better, but some of the strikes were excellent.

"There's not too much that David could have done about it, in my opinion."

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