Felix magath has more important things to worry about ahead of his home debut in the premier league than chelsea’s star coach jose mourinho.
"I don’t care who the coach of the opponent is," said magath ahead of saturday’s clash between bottom club fulham FC and the premier league leaders. "We are only thinking about how we can win this game," said the new coach of the "cottagers".
Less than 72 hours after the long journey to the champions league match in istanbul, the chelsea pros were able to walk into the opponent’s stadium for the derby. It only took them about 20 minutes to walk from stamford bridge through the fulham district of london to craven cottage on the themse river. Otherwise, however, there are fubball worlds between the neighbors: 39 points – or an entire league. Only once in the last 35 meetings has fulham been able to defeat chelsea.
So it’s no wonder that magath has other worries than mourinho before his second stint on the island. In the remaining eleven games, he has to close a four-number gap on the non-relegation places in england’s league. A tough task for the team with the three german kickers lewis holtby, sascha riether and ashkan dejagah, which has been waiting for a win for seven matches.
"The training is having an effect. I am convinced that we will play a good game. It’s an advantage for us that chelsea played in istanbul on wednesday. This can be our chance," magath said. But chelsea is the favorite. "Everyone knows the standings." Mourinho buried the statement of his counterpart: "i must praise magath."After all, he is the first coach to admit that chelsea’s journey is changing the game.
At the beginning of the week, fitness fan magath took the fulham pros on a performance test. The result showed him that fitness work does not have to have the highest priority. But there is room for improvement, magath said. When asked about the german’s controversial training methods, mourinho said: "I don’t know them. But I know his resume – and it is one of the best of all coaches in the league."
Problems seem to exist at fulham with winter transfer konstantinos mitroglou. The greek international striker is not yet ready for the demands of the english league, magath said, leaving room for speculation. Meanwhile, the german players are fit. Praise for dejagah. "I can rely on him. It was good for him that i became a coach here," magath said of the former hertha and wolfsburg pro, who once became german champion with the coach at vfl.
Magath does not seem to be worried about chelsea, because playing against such an opponent is always easy. "Chelsea is the better team and must make the game. We will react. It’s easier," said the 60-year-old about the tactical orientation, before he went on to say a few words about mourinho. As coach of FC bayern munchen in 2004/05, magath was defeated by him and the blues in the quarterfinals of the champions league. "We resemble each other very much. We have both won some titles. And we both hate to lose," said magath. So one of the two will probably have an unpleasant evening on saturday.