LONDON: Rene Meulensteen has been replaced as manager of bottom of the table Premier League Fulham by former Bayern Munich manager Felix Magath.
The former Manchester United coach was sacked 75 days after he was appointed as Martin Jol’s successor, having previously been dismissed by Anzhi of Russia.
Magath has signed an 18-month contract and said on his Facebook page last night: “Here we go again, I’m coming back into football. I am manager of Fulham with immediate effect. It’s a fantastic working environment for any coach and footballer.
“This amazing club, steeped in tradition, and its owner Shahid Khan have totally convinced me and given me the managerial responsibility. I would like to thank the club and the owner for this faith.
“I’m looking forward to [moving to] London and particularly to the fans and employees of Fulham, in particular the backroom staff and team there. I’m now looking forward to the football and even more so to the work.”
Meulensteen, replaced as Manchester United assistant after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, had been on thin ice for some time since Fulham’s form and place in the table had only deteriorated under his command.
‘His’ Fulham played 17 games, winning only four and losing nine.
Meulensteen conceded: “I knew the owners were freaking out a little bit, that there was the possibility of the club going down.
“The way forward that we have discussed with the club was about longevity, and in this case it is clearly an act of fear.
“I think everyone understands football and knows that this is going to the wire. Yes, Fulham are bottom of League but if you win some games you are back in it.
“They have hit the panic button on emotion and fear. I was told by (chief executive) Alastair Mackintosh, it was clear and straightforward and that is what happens in football.
“That’s the problem with owners who don’t understand the Premier League. They were very scared of Fulham getting relegated and I think that is what made their decision.
“They should have thought about it, if they weren’t sure, it would have been wise to make the decision before the transfer window.’
Fulham owner Shahid Khan said: “I am very happy to welcome Felix Magath to Fulham Football Club. 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.
“Felix knows that is precisely the task awaiting him at Fulham, and he made it abundantly clear that he wants and is ready for the opportunity.”
The futures of technical director Alan Curbishley and assistant head coach Ray Wilkins are unclear.
Magath, who led Wolfsburg to the Bundesliga title five years ago, recently turned down the chance to take over at Hamburg after the club failed to meet his wage demands.