Embattled Fulham manager Felix Magath has insisted the fault for the club’s relegation from the Premier League lies with Mohamed Al-Fayed rather than him.
The German coach claimed that the Egyptian billionaire should take responsibility for failing to invest in Fulham’s squad during his final years in charge at Craven Cottage. Magath told the Evening Standard:
“The problem we had was that the owner before had not spent money. The club sold the best players and brought in average players. You cannot go on doing that for a long time. That is why we are struggling. Now we have the chance to change things. I also did this in Stuttgart in 2002. They were a club without money.
I did that for years at Schalke 04. I took out older players and put in younger ones. I learned to work with them. We were very good, very successful and we developed some players for the national team. I brought Philipp Lahm into the squad at Stuttgart,” says Magath. “He then became a national player, our [German] captain and one of the most successful players in Germany, even in the world. I also took on a young goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. He was the third goalkeeper in Germany when I stepped in at Schalke. After I left, he was No1 in Germany and now he’s the best in the world. I hope to be as successful here with Fulham.”
Magath has staked Fulham’s Championship season on the club’s academy graduates having let several experienced players leave in the wake of relegation.
“I’m convinced Patrick Roberts will be a player, not only for the Premier League but for the national team as well in the next few years. In a new team, you have to build up a leadership. My captain, Scott Parker, is a very good leader. But he needs beside him one or two who can support him and that is what we have to build up now. In the matches so far we have had a lot of possession but not found the way to scoring. We will.”
He insists he has not lost confidence despite a dreadful start to the new campaign.
“I am not depressed. If you are relegated, that is a chance to make things new. If you do new things, you will never be right in everything. In our situation you have a tough time at the beginning if you change a lot. The beginning is the most dangerous period. I was prepared for that. I know how things work but it is a long season. If you win five or six games in a row, you’ll be up in a short time.
Mr Khan knows that now is the time for changes. He knows because he has done that in his company. He knows he is not a football specialist but is a very successful leader of a company. I like working with Mr Khan. Our objective is to get back into the Premier League at the end of the season. Mr Khan relies on me to bring us back.”