When I heard that Fulham had fired Rene Meulensteen today I thought it was a mistake. He had only just arrived at the club, replacing Martin Jol, and in the last two games had got a draw at Old Trafford and lost to fourth place Liverpool on a stoppage time penalty from Steven Gerrard.
This is nothing more than another knee-jerk reaction by Fulham owner Shahid Khan, who unfamiliarity with soccer is damaging the club.
Khan said he fired the former Manchester United assistant coach because:
“Our club has shown promise in recent matches, but the fact is we have not won a league match since 1 January.
“Given our form, we can no longer merely hope that our fortunes will finally turn. And with 12 matches remaining and at least four points separating us from safety, we certainly can no longer post empty results. Action was required.
Its the timing of the decision that gets me. Meulensteen inherited Jol’s squad when he took over on December 1, and in January he was able to bring in players that he felt would help the team avoid promotion. Since the transfer window closes Fulham have played Southampton, Man United and Liverpool and most Fulham fans would agree that the club has improved in each game.
Meulensteen lashed out at Khan for panicking telling BBC Radio 5 Live:
“I am very, very surprised, very disappointed, very frustrated as well, because the job that I stepped into was one that took me by surprise from the start, because that was not anticipated with Martin Jol leaving and obviously you then have to step into situation which is not the best.”
“You need to try and make things better as soon as you can, but you’re playing with a deck of cards that are not yours.
“I haven’t really been given any time to make that work. I thought the performance against Manchester United and Liverpool were very, very good and it was unfortunate that we did not pick up the points that we deserved.
“Twelve games to go, plenty of points to play for and I’m sure we would have turned it around.
“I’ve not been told anything. I knew the owners were freaking out and panicking about the fact that Fulham could get relegated, but they’ve had that sort of attitude already ten games back.
“They’ve hit the panic button on emotions of fear, but hey-ho, that’s what happens in football. It’s not always fair.”