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Fulham manager Felix Magath admits he may have been too soft on his players since taking charge.

The German was appointed in February with a reputation as a tough task master, but the Whites have gone down with barely a whimper.

And he admitted that he was hurting and desperate to cure the club’s ills.

“The players told me they cannot fight, I don’t know why,” he said.

“They cannot fight, they haven’t learned it.”

Magath continued: “Have I been too soft on them? Maybe.

“At the end of the day you can’t find one reason and blame that for relegation.

“I didn’t take on something that could be cured easily, we were bottom of the table and things were very messed up.”

Magath is determined to put faith in Fulham’s talented crop of youngsters as he looks to build a new team ready for the Championship.

The average age of his starting XI against Stoke last weekend was 29 while there were seven Fulham players aged 30 or older.

Magath insists age is not his only consideration however – he wants players who feel an affinity with Fulham.

“We want to keep players here but for me it is very important the player feels an identification with the club and with the team – that is what we have to build up,” he said.

“If there are players who think there is a better club for them and if they want to go they can leave, they just have to find us a club who is ready to buy him.

“We only want to take care of players who identify with Fulham and that is going to be the basis of our team for the future.”