Rene Meulensteen yet to be shown Cottage door
Manager replaced by Felix Magath but not released by Fulham while new man surveys options
Felix Magath has been appointed manager at Fulham. Photograph: Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images
Fulham have, at the very least, demoted Rene Muelensteen. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Rene Meulensteen has not been sacked by Fulham as talks continue into the make-up of new first-team manager Felix Magath’s backroom team, it is understood.
A turbulent season at Craven Cottage took another remarkable turn on Friday, with the Premier League’s bottom-placed side taking drastic action in a bid to avoid relegation by replacing Meulensteen at the helm after just 75 days.
The deposed head coach was not mentioned in the club statement announcing Magath’s appointment and went on the radio minutes later to claim chief executive Alistair Mackintosh had told him that he had been “released”.
However, Meulensteen’s future with the west Londoners remains unclear as it is now understood that he has not yet left the club despite Magath being brought in over his head as first-team manager.
The 60-year-old German wants to review the backroom team before any such decisions are made, with talks over the future of assistant manager Ray Wilkins and first-team technical director Alan Curbishley taking place on Sunday.
Before those talks, Magath will take control of training for the first time as he looks to kick-start a Fulham side without a league win since New Year’s Day.
The Whites languish four points adrift of safety at the bottom of the standings after a miserable season in which the German has become the third man at the Craven Cottage helm in just 10 weeks.
Martin Jol was sacked on December 1 after Fulham’s miserable start to the campaign, with Meulensteen, appointed head coach under his countryman just weeks earlier, then taking control of first-team duties.
However, having been unable to steer Fulham out of the relegation zone, experienced Magath was named first-team manager on Friday on an 18-month deal, with owner Shahid Khan saying “action was required”.
“Our club has shown promise in recent matches, but the fact is we have not won a league match since January 1st,’’ Khan, who bought out Mohamed Al Fayed last summer, said. “Given our form, we can no longer merely hope that our fortunes will finally turn. And with 12 matches remaining and at least four points separating us from safety, we certainly can no longer post empty results. Action was required.
“Alistair Mackintosh did a wonderful job during the January transfer window to improve our club. This week, Alistair recommended Felix, with his history of producing results for clubs with similar challenges as ours, as the new manager of Fulham.
“Alistair’s recommendation received my complete approval and Felix has my unequivocal support.”
Magath led Bayern Munich to the Bundesliga in 2005 and 2006 before achieving the same feat with Wolfsburg in 2009.
The job is the 60-year-old’s first in club management since leaving Wolfsburg in 2012 and comes at the end of a week in which he had been strongly linked with a return to former club Hamburg.
“Here we go again, I’m coming back into football,” Magath said via his Facebook account. “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.”