It seems each and every season there reaches a point in the Barclay's Premier League where someone gets desperate in the relegation battle and loses their head. That stage has now been reached where Fulham have replaced Rene Meulensteen with German manager Felix Magath. Further they have sacked Technical Director Alan Curbishley and Assistant Head Coach Ray Wilkins. Rene had only been in charge 75 days and had just come within a whisker of a brace of 2-2 draws against Manchester United and Liverpool in back to back games. Fulham sit 5 points from safety if you add in goal difference with only 12 games to play.
Magath has a reputation as a disciplinarian but has come with pedigree. Winner of the Bundesliga three times, twice with Bayern Munich and once with a Edin Dzeko inspired Wolfsberg.
The dogfight of relegation is best suited to well organised sides who are prepared to run that extra inch and leave everything on the pitch. A new manager often gets an instant result and when you look at their next fixture it couldn't be more important. West Bromwich Albion are 4 points ahead, just above the drop line. A Fulham defeat and the gap extends to 7 points and 8 with goal difference, probably too big a gap for Fulham to overhaul.
This is a big gamble by the Fulham owner. Meulensteen had not been providing the results and of course they are the bottom line. However, the improvement in performance suggested they may be about to find a change in momentum. Clearly Meulensteen, Curbishley and Wilkins have not been given a fair shot at the post. How the players react will be the key. It is too late in the season for Magath to go to war with his troops. He will need the backing of the players from the opening training session. If players are confused or unhappy the danger is the side lose the fight the recent performances have shown and minds wander to summer transfers. If they respond in a positive way to his management their showings against United and Liverpool should give them a chance in avoiding the drop.
As for Rene? well there just so appears to be a big hole in the coaching at Manchester United. Whether he makes it to be a successful manager is to be proven. As a coach he is excellent and soon to be unemployed. Get on the phone Mr Moyes.