Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Holtby: Toe Magath's Line or We Will Be in Trouble; Holtby: Toe the Line with Magath or We Are in Trouble; Football Correspondent

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Holtby: Toe Magath's Line or We Will Be in Trouble; Holtby: Toe the Line with Magath or We Are in Trouble; Football Correspondent

Article excerpt

Byline: Giuseppe Muro

LEWIS HOLTBY says Fulham must adapt quickly to Felix Magath's uncompromising methods if they want to stay up.

The Magath reign started with a 1-1 draw at West Brom on Saturday and the squad will discover this week just how tough their new manager can be as he fully implements his renowned hardline training regime.

Magath's strict stance at previous clubs earned him the nickname Saddam Hussein but Holtby says such criticism is "a disgrace" and urged the squad to knuckle down.

"Of course it is difficult [when a new manager starts] during the season but he comes in with a philosophy and you have to adapt as quickly as possible," said the midfielder who worked under Magath at Schalke.

"You have to do that as a professional player and good players do it quickly.

"He has his own style of training and you have to respect that. That is the only way we can do it. We have to believe we can stay up and an away point to start is a good achievement for us. We have to work hard and for us as players, especially in our situation, we have to be very professional and focused."

Fulham remain bottom of the Premier League despite their point at The Hawthorns and Magath now plans to place a greater emphasis on physical work.

Last week, he brought in conditioning expert Werner Leuthard -- a German with a military background -- and he will have a key role to play with just 11 games left. "Some things that have been said about him [Magath] are over the top," said Holtby, who is on loan from Tottenham.

"He is not a murderer. If you compare him to Saddam, it is not very generous or very nice. It is not like he killed anyone. I think it is a disgrace if you call someone Saddam. Of course he trains hard but everyone has their own philosophy. He won a couple of titles in Germany, you have to respect that. …

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