Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Curbs disappointed by Fulham exit

Alan Curbishley was dismissed as Fulham's first-team technical director last week

Alan Curbishley would have liked more time to try to help Fulham stay in the Barclays Premier League, but has no doubt new manager Felix Magath believes he has "all the tools" needed to pull off a survival battle.

The Cottagers took the dramatic step of replacing Rene Meulensteen last week with the German coach, who also decided assistant manager Ray Wilkins and first-team technical director Curbishley would leave the club under a clean break from the old regime.

Former Charlton boss Curbishley had only returned to football just before Christmas when taking up a new role at the west London club.

The 56-year-old, once touted as potential future England manager, can understand the decision, even if he is "disappointed" by the outcome.

"There was a change of manager who decided he wanted to bring his own staff in, and that is always a consequence of managerial changes," Curbishley said on Sky Sports News.

"I understood it, I respected it, but I was a little bit disappointed because - when I went into Fulham - the role I had was something the club needed.

"Rene had never been a manager before and I was there to advise and offer my opinion on things, as was Ray.

"There are some inexperienced managers in the Premier League such as Tim Sherwood at Tottenham and Garry Monk at Swansea, so there is a role for ex-managers to be mentors.

"But unfortunately it only lasted seven weeks.

"The owner decided after the Liverpool game he was going to make a change.

"Rene will be disappointed, as it was his first stab at management, because the two games previously against Manchester United - where we drew - and against Liverpool, when we led twice, we felt the tide was turning a little bit."

Magath's first match almost ended in victory at West Brom, but a late mistake from goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg saw them end up with a 1-1 draw which leaves Fulham still bottom of the table.

However, the Cottagers are only four points from safety.

German coach Magath has a reputation as a strict disciplinarian, but Curbishley sees no reason why the three-time Bundesliga winner should not make a successful transition to England.

"He was a fantastic player, top class, been there, done that and won most things," Curbishley added.

"He did the double with Bayern Munich and is full of confidence, and believes he has the tools to make Fulham survive."

Ashkan Dejagah scored for Fulham at West Brom.

The Iranian had worked with Magath at Wolfsburg, winning the Bundesliga in 2008-2009.

Midfielder Dejagah believes the German will have his men fired up again for the west London derby against Chelsea at Craven Cottage next weekend.

"I have known him for a long time," Dejagah said on the club's official website, www.fulhamfc.com.

"It was a good week in training before West Brom, all the sessions were good.

"We need to do the same this week and we'll see what happens against Chelsea."

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