Martinez: Rene Sparking Fulham Revival
Cottagers already showing signs of improvement, says Spaniard.
Roberto Martinez believes Rene Meulensteen is already putting his own stamp on Fulham.
The former Manchester United coach was installed as the new boss at Craven Cottage at the start of December after Martin Jol was axed following a dismal run of results.
Meulensteen was unable to prevent Fulham from slipping to a seventh successive defeat in his first game in charge against Tottenham, but the west London outfit finally stopped the rot with an impressive 2-0 success over Aston Villa last Sunday afternoon.
Their performance was considered a marked improvement and, according to Martinez, evidence that the Dutchman is already having a positive influence on the 18th-placed Cottagers.
“We all know this Fulham side are going to be tough opposition,” Martinez declared at his pre-match press conference. “In their last two performances they have been totally different in the way they have approached the game. They have been full of energy and have been galvanized by Rene Meulensteen.
“Rene is someone I have followed for a long time and you can clearly see in the victory they had against Aston Villa that we will have to be perfect when they come to Goodison.”
Meulensteen commands a strong reputation in English football as a result of his work at Old Trafford, where he was part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s coaching set-up for a number of years.
The 49-year-old worked with both the Club’s youth and reserve teams before leaving to take up the managerial position at Brondby in 2006. After one season in Denmark, he returned to Manchester United to become first-team coach – a position he held until this summer.
Meulensteen also had a brief spell in charge of Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala this season, prior to joining Fulham.
“He is someone that is an innovative coach and he is going to bring those ideas into management,” Martinez said when asked about his counterpart’s credentials. "He has had two jobs as a manager away from the British game and now he has his first job [as a Premier League boss].
“He has got incredible experience and, in his roles, he has always made a difference in what he has done, whether he was a skills coach or working with the youth set up. He has always brought different approaches and different angles, and you can expect that his tactical awareness will be fantastic.
“He is someone that will bring a lot to Fulham, so for those reasons we will have to be at our best.”
Despite Fulham’s apparent upturn in fortunes, they have not won at Goodison Park since January 1975.
Martinez says the Toffees’ support this Saturday can help ensure the Cottagers return to the capital after suffering another defeat on Merseyside.
He continued: “We’ve got four games now - three of those at home - and that is the only focus we should have as a football club. We have to make sure we enjoy each other’s role and we push ourselves to the limit.
“To have a full Goodison has always been a real advantage, and we’re going to take that and hope we can rely on our fans to do that.”
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