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Holtby to cheer on Fulham

Lewis Holtby wants Fulham to defeat Tottenham at the weekend even though he still belongs to the north London club.

Holtby will return to White Hart Lane at the end of the season after joining Fulham on loan in January and the terms of the deal mean he cannot play in Saturday’s fixture.

The 23-year-old midfielder still believes he can build a successful career at Spurs but for now, he is concentrating on helping Fulham survive. With Felix Magath’s team two points adrift of safety, Holtby would be happy to see Tottenham lose at White Hart Lane on Saturday if it means Fulham stay up.

“It’s a tough game for me, because I’m on loan from Tottenham but Fulham need the three points more at the moment to stay up,” he said. “I signed a long contract at Spurs and I was hoping to have a long future at the club. I still believe in my quality and that I can play for Tottenham.

“I was desperate to have some games. I hate being on the bench. I love being on the pitch and expressing myself and Fulham have given me the chance to play high-quality football in the Premier League.

“Every game is exciting now and we believe we can win all four of those that remain. For example, we play Stoke on May 3 and they are essentially safe, so maybe they won’t be that tense.”

Current Spurs head coach Tim Sherwood is not believed to rate Holtby highly but as he is to leave at the end of the season, Holtby is watching the situation closely. Holland coach Louis van Gaal has supporters in the Spurs boardroom.

Holtby added : “I think he would be able to adjust. He’s proved in the Dutch league, the Spanish league and the German league that he’s a top manager. You can see his influence in the way the current Bayern Munich team play.”

Magath on why he dropped Holtby

Fulham manager Felix Magath has explained his surprising decision to drop Lewis Holtby against Chelsea on Saturday.

Holtby was named on the bench at Craven Cottage despite being Fulham’s best player since joining on loan from Tottenham.

Fulham were beaten 3-1 by Chelsea and remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table. Holtby came on as a 62nd-minute substitute and Magath says the midfielder was left out of the starting line-up for tactical reasons.

The Fulham manager, who instead started Clint Dempsey, said: “We played against the Premier League leaders and we had to fight because they have better players. You have to prepare for a game where Chelsea will have control over the ball. Lewis is a player who is forward thinking, who is very skilful and can make good passes.

“Against Chelsea, you will not create many chances, nobody will. We fought very well in the first half. it worked as I expected it.”

Magath remains confident of keeping Fulham in the Premier League despite them being four points from safety with just 10 games remaining. They face second-bottom Cardiff on Saturday and Kieran Richardson feels the game in Wales will be crucial to their survival chances. He said: “Cardiff was always going to be a big one. It will be hard going there because they are fighting for survival, too. But after a result like Chelsea you can’t afford for your heads to go down.”

Fulham are without a win in the League since New Year’s Day but Richardson hopes £11million signing Kostas Mitroglou can score the goals to keep the club up – when he is fit.

Mitroglou, who was short of full fitness when he joined from Olympiakos in January, made his debut as a substitute against West Brom last weekend but was left out of the squad for the Chelsea game.

Magath expects Mitroglou will return against Cardiff and Richardson believes the 25-year-old can make a difference. Richardson added: “The club spent a lot of money on him and we are expecting him to do well. He is looking for his fitness but he is a good finisher. We need him as soon as possible. I hope he can make the difference for us.”

Holtby unworried by Magath appointment

Fulham midfielder Lewis Holtby is not concerned about the appointment of Felix Magath as Fulham manager, despite enduring a frustrating spell under him at Schalke.

The Tottenham midfielder joined Fulham on loan in January while Rene Meulensteen was in charge of the Cottagers, but must now answer to Magath, who took the job on Friday.

Holtby was shipped out on loan twice by Magath at Schalke and appeared to take a swipe at his old boss when Louis van Gaal was linked with the job at Tottenham.

“I wouldn’t have a problem if Van Gaal came in. After all, I’ve survived Felix Magath too,” Holtby told Bild at the time.

But the 23-year-old played down suggestions of a rift and has vowed to play his part as Fulham attempt to drag themselves out of the drop-zone.

“I don’t have any fear,” said Holtby. “From my point of view, it’s being hyped up right now.

“I have grown as a player and my time under Magath is already almost five years away.

“We are both in Fulham to reach one goal and that is staying up. Everything else is secondary.”

Holtby admits he was left shocked by the sudden arrival of Magath and there is still uncertainty about the future of Meulensteen, with reports suggesting he was not sacked.

“At the weekend, I was in Denmark visiting my girlfriend’s family,” he said.

“I booked a flight for Sunday afternoon, but since the first training session under Felix Magath was scheduled on such short notice for Sunday morning, I had to return a day early.

“The news was of course a big surprise.”

When asked about the confusion surrounding Meulensteen, he said: “I’m a player, that’s for the people upstairs, they make the decisions. We as the players, we have to work hard. We do the talking on the pitch.”

Hotlby feels Fulham can stay up

Fulham midfielder Lewis Holtby is convinced Fulham are good enough to escape relegation but says they need to be stronger defensively.

Fulham twice led against Liverpool last night but conceded a 90th-minute goal at Craven Cottage to lose 3-2 and leave themselves bottom of the Premier League, four points from safety.

Holtby concedes Rene Meulensteen’s side must tighten up at the back but believes they have the quality to survive. The on-loan Tottenham midfielder said: “We’ve got the quality to stay up but we need to get some points. We had a fantastic game but have nothing to show for it and that is not what you need when you are fighting against relegation. We need to be solid at the back because we are conceding too many goals and that is a problem.

“We could have had three points but we lost so have to pick ourselves up and be ready for the next game. We have to be mentally strong – that is the key to getting out of the bottom three.”

Steven Gerrard scored an injury-time penalty as Liverpool moved to within four points of leaders Chelsea.

Fulham are without a win since New Year’s Day but showed enough to suggest they can get out of trouble.

Holtby said: “It is really hard to imagine we lost this. We had a really good game and it could have been three points against a Liverpool side who did not have their best game. It is really disappointing but we can’t keep saying we are playing well, we need to start getting points to get out of the drop zone. It is up to us to show mental strength now but there is still a belief we can stay up.”

Holtby confident Fulham will stay up

Fulham’s deadline day signing Lewis Holtby believes his new side have the quality to survive in the Premier League.

Rene Meulensteen’s side were beaten 3-0 by Southampton at Craven Cottage and are now bottom of the table – with games against Manchester United and Liverpool to come in the next two weeks.

“I’m convinced we have the quality here,” Holtby told Sky Sports News.

“That’s why I signed – because I believe in this club. There are still 14 games to play and we just need to get some confidence. And the best way to do that is at Old Trafford.

“We’re one team here and we all have to work together to get the result.”

Holtby, who has joined on loan from Tottenham, felt Fulham were in the game up until half-time but then fell away in the second half.

“The difference was in the second half,” he added. “In the first half I think we had a good game, had a couple of chances and could have nicked the first goal.”

Defender Brede Hangeland agreed with his new team-mate.

“With a bit of luck in the first half we could have gone one-up,” he said. “But I can’t remember the last time we took the lead in a game so that’s a big factor in winning games in this league.

“It’s extremely disappointing and results weren’t kind to us either so it was a tough day – but all we can do is graft as much as we can for the remainder of the season and see what happens.

“You can get good results against the top teams if you play well and that’s what we’re hoping to do.”