Fulham facing ‘most important game’ as Magath aims to survive
Felix Magath is preparing basement Premier League side Fulham, who are odds-on favourites at 1/3 with Coral to go down, for “probably the most important game in [the] club’s history” at fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion.
This encounter between the Baggies, who are 17th on goal difference, and the west London outfit takes centre stage in the relegation dogfight. It is Magath’s managerial debut for Fulham as he travels to The Hawthorns where another newcomer to English football, Pepe Mel, has yet to win.
Albion are 11/4 for the drop, but the likes of Sunderland, Norwich City, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City are all rated more likely to lose top-flight status by Coral.
Mel’s men are 8/11 to finally give the Spaniard a Premier League victory, while Fulham, who historically have struggled on their travels, are 4/1 to pick up just their fourth away win of the campaign.
German boss Magath, who has coached Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg to Bundesliga titles, took over from Rene Meulensteen at Craven Cottage after Fulham twice surrendered the lead against Liverpool in their last outing.
Setting his players a target of six wins to stay up, Magath said: “I am sure we will avoid relegation with this team. Now we have a special situation, it is not the time to dream.
“We have to work, we have to stand together and fight against relegation. I’ve worked with other clubs at the bottom – Stuttgart, Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen and I have never been relegated.
“We are behind others, it’s not enough for us to make a draw, we have to win. I’m convinced what we need to do, and convinced we can avoid relegation.”
Fulham are 9/4 outsiders with Coral to stay up because they have the worst defensive record in the Premier League – conceding 14 more than second-bottom Cardiff. Their away form is abysmal too with one win in nine, netting just five goals in those games on the road.
Half of Fulham’s total of 20 points from 26 top-flight matches have been earned on their travels. Magath will be looking to take his team within a point of West Brom by beating them in the West Midlands.
Visitors Fulham will hope to have £11m deadline-day signing Kostas Mitroglou fit to make his long-awaited debut after he joined them from Olympiakos. Back him to cap his bow with a goal at 15/8.