Fulham confirm Meulensteen exit

English Premier League strugglers Fulham bowed to the inevitable by confirming the departure of former manager Rene Meulensteen.

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The west London club took dramatic action last Friday in a bid to preserve their top-flight status by bringing in Felix Magath as their new manager with just 12 games of the season left.

However, at the time Fulham made no mention of Meulensteen’s fate or that of assistant manager Ray Wilkins and technical director Alan Curbishley.

But a Fulham statement issued on Tuesday says the trio have all left Craven Cottage as Magath brought in his own backroom staff.

“Fulham Football Club have officially announced the appointments of Tomas Oral as first-team coach and Werner Leuthard as conditioning coach, both reporting to new first-team manager Felix Magath, effective immediately,” the statement said.

“The club simultaneously made the formal announcement that Rene Meulensteen, Alan Curbishley, Ray Wilkins, (coaches) Mick Priest and Jonathan Hill have departed Fulham. Terms of the parting are complete and confidential.”

Former Manchester United coach Meulensteen had been in charge of the Cottagers for little more than two months after being promoted from within the west London club’s backroom staff to replace fellow-Dutchman Martin Jol on December 1.

However, Wednesday’s 3-2 home defeat by Liverpool — where Fulham twice took the lead before losing out to Steven Gerrard’s stoppage-time penalty — left the Cottagers bottom of the table and four points adrift of safety.

And that was enough for Fulham chairman Shahid Khan, a Pakistan-born US-based businessman, to sack Meulensteen.

It was the second time this season Meulensteen had been dismissed after he was fired just 16 days into his time in charge of Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in August.

Meulensteen responded to his effective sacking Friday by accusing Fulham of “freaking out” and “hitting the panic button on the emotions of fear”.

Former Bayern Munich manager Magath’s first match as Fulham boss will be away to West Bromwich Albion, themselves just above the relegation zone, on Saturday.

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