Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Holtby takes confidence from Magath

Lewis Holtby, pictured, has backed Felix Magath to be a hit at Fulham
Lewis Holtby, pictured, has backed Felix Magath to be a hit at Fulham

Lewis Holtby is confident that Felix Magath's arrival as first-team manager will see Fulham stave off relegation.

It has been a hectic few days on the banks of the Thames, with head coach Rene Meulensteen's 75-day spell at the helm brought to an abrupt end on Friday.

The Dutchman's exit from the club was confirmed on Tuesday evening, with Alan Curbishley and Ray Wilkins amongst those following him out of Craven Cottage.

Tomas Oral and Werner Leuthard have arrived as first-team coach and conditioning coach, respectively, ahead of Magath's first game at fellow strugglers West Brom this weekend.

It is a match, Holtby says, they approach with renewed confidence brought by the man that managed him at Schalke.

"I know him well," the on-loan Tottenham midfielder told the club's official website, www.fulhamfc.com. "He's won titles in Germany and done some great stuff in the Bundesliga. He's a very hard-working guy who wants 100 per cent from his sides.

"We're going to get the full German experience from him and I definitely think he'll help us achieve our goal of staying up in the Barclays Premier League.

"Training's been good, although it's definitely been a new experience for the English players.

"Myself, Sascha Riether and Ashkan Dejagah [who also played under Magath] know all about him but in training he works you really hard and you always have to be on top of your game."

As good a manager as Magath may be, the bookmakers still make Fulham overriding favourites for relegation.

Four points adrift of safety and bottom of the pile with 12 matches remaining, Holtby knows is it is crucial to bring three points back from the Hawthorns on Saturday.

"It's a massive game," he said. "In Germany we call it a six-point game and I think you have a similar saying over here. We need to win this fixture.

"We were unlucky against Liverpool where we should have taken something from the game, but now it's not about complaints, it's about getting points and winning these types of games.

"I played against West Brom for Tottenham Hotspur in December and it's going to be very hard. They're very organised and very energetic."

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