Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Meulensteen aiming to lift Fulham

Rene Meulensteen believes Fulham can escape relegation

New head coach Rene Meulensteen believes Fulham have the talent to climb away from the Barclays Premier League relegation zone but that they need to get the basics right.

Meulensteen joined Fulham on Wednesday to work alongside under-pressure coach Martin Jol with the Cottagers stuck in the bottom three of the standings having lost seven of their 11 games this season.

However, Meulensteen, Sir Alex Ferguson's former assistant at Manchester United, believes Fulham have the quality and ability in their squad to be further up the table and need to get the less glamourous things right.

"Hopefully I can bring a new sort of energy to the whole place because they've got good enough footballers," the Dutchman told Sky Sports News.

"Fulham is a football team, that's what they are good at, they just need to make sure they do the basic things right; taking responsibility, being disciplined, and work hard, and then the results will come."

He added: "I know the Premier League really well, it is obviously different because with Manchester United we had different ambitions which were quite clear but hopefully my experience and my expertise will help Fulham climb up the table."

Meulensteen said his role at Fulham would mirror the one he had at Manchester United, with him taking the lead in training and Jol looking to take a step back.

However, as was the case with Ferguson at Old Trafford, Meulensteen insists there will not be any doubt as to who will be calling the shots overall.

The appointment of the 49-year-old raised has questions over the future of his compatriot Jol, who has found himself in the spotlight following Fulham's disappointing start to the season.

"It will be very similar to how I worked with Sir Alex Ferguson. Martin is obviously a very, very experienced manager in the game.

"I think Martin comes to a time in his life as a manager, he's got an experience and he wants to step back a little bit and give the groundwork over to somebody like myself, and I think we can perfectly work well together," said Meulensteen.

Asked if that meant Jol would remain in charge but that he would take charge of things on the training ground most days, Meulensteen added: "That's the sort of thing we discussed and that's where my strength is, that's what I've done for so many years for Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United (where) it was very clear who was in charge, and that's not going to be any different at Fulham."

Meulensteen, who left United's coaching team this summer following Ferguson's departure and then had an ill-fated spell in charge of Russian Anzhi Makhachkala, had been closely linked with the vacant managerial post at Crystal Palace.

The Dutchman was bemused by that speculation though, saying: "To be honest it was a bit of a surprise to myself that I was so strongly linked with Crystal Palace because I never really had formal contact with them, so I don't know what happened there.

"The last five months have been very turbulent for me but I'm happy that finally we came to this decision (with Fulham), I'm very happy with it."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre