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Felix Magath 'relaxed' about relegation fight

Updated: Thursday, 06 Mar 2014 15:25 | Comments

Felix Magath said the atmosphere at Fulham was not typical for a club fighting a relegation battle
Felix Magath said the atmosphere at Fulham was not typical for a club fighting a relegation battle

Defeat by Cardiff City on Saturday would not spell the end for Fulham's Premier League survival chances, head coach Felix Magath said on Thursday.

Fulham, stranded at the bottom of the table on 21 points from 28 matches and without a win in eight league games, could leapfrog Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's 19th-placed side with victory at the Cardiff City Stadium.

"I'm convinced that we will avoid relegation because we've developed in the last 14 days," said Magath, who was appointed last month.

"The team is growing together and that is what makes me sure that we can avoid relegation."

Magath said his side needed a win to boost their confidence, but that they were relaxed about their situation.

"We have a good schedule for the last 10 games because most of the teams that play in the Champions League we have played, except Manchester City,” he said.

"Now is the time to fight. Lewis Holtby is not a fighter" - Felix Magath

"I get the feeling here that everybody knows that and everybody sleeps well with the knowledge that there are games ahead of us that we can win.

"We are in London, we are not in Cardiff or Sunderland where the whole city is interested in playing Premier League.

"The atmosphere here is really relaxed for the situation we are in; it's not typical for a team fighting against relegation.

"We have to be aware that we are not only dreaming, but everybody has to put in a shift and push the team and push the players to give their best."

Magath will be without Kostas Mitroglou, who has played just 30 minutes for the Londoners since joining from Olympiakos in January, after the Greek striker took part in an international on Wednesday.

"He has gone to the national team and he has played 60 minutes," added Magath, who has overseen a draw and a defeat in his first two games in charge.

"He will come back today but he is not match fit - he has muscle problems now.

"We need a player in our situation that is prepared for 90 minutes. We have a relegation fight."

Mitroglou's situation has confused Fulham fans, but Magath insists it is unfair to heap hopes on a player who will take time to adapt to English football.

"The Premier League is the best league in the world, so it cannot be compared with the Greek League,” Magath said. Every player who comes from the Greek League needs a few weeks to adapt.

"You cannot expect such a lot from a player who is new in the Premier League. You have to give him time to adapt.

"We know that and we make a contract with Mitroglu not for the game against Liverpool or Manchester United, but for the last games.”

As a result Mitroglou was not risked for last week's loss to Chelsea. Magath added: "Why should I spoil him in a game like Chelsea? Chelsea is the best defending team in the league and so we would get not many chances against Chelsea.

"He's new and he needs confidence, too. To get used is not good for him and not good for us."

Lewis Holtby, on loan from Tottenham, also did not start. The forward, who played under Magath at Schalke, has been told he is not the right sort of player for a relegation fight, but may be given a chance against Cardiff, where he may have more space to play to his strengths.

"We are not in a normal situation,” said Magath. “Now is not the time to play very well, now is the time to fight. Lewis Holtby is not a fighter. He is very smart, he is a very skilful offensive player who has very good passes.”

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