Felix Magath is looking forward to walking out at Craven Cottage as Fulham Manager for the first time on Saturday afternoon.
His maiden home game in charge of the Whites sees them take on local rivals Chelsea, and Magath is keen to give the supporters plenty of reason to get behind the team.
“It’s an important game for me, my first appearance here, and I think we have a good chance,” he said in Friday’s pre-match press conference. “We need to show the fighting spirit on the field to get the crowd behind us.
“At home games the crowd will be the 12th man for a team and that’s what we have to get. We need every supporter that we can get and I think our performance will convince our fans here at Craven Cottage.
“We have to fight, we have to put pressure on Chelsea, and if we’re able to make pressure then we have a chance for the game.
“The training sessions show me that the players are becoming more confident. We’ve worked very hard and we’ve worked very well, so I’m convinced that we can make Saturday a good game. The atmosphere is very good and I look forward to Saturday.”
Saturday’s opponents were in UEFA Champions League action as recently as Wednesday and our Manager admitted Chelsea’s exertions away at Galatasaray could work in his side’s favour.
“It’s always an advantage for teams when they play against a Champions League team and we’re lucky that Chelsea had such a long trip to Istanbul,” he stated. “They played on Wednesday so it’s a good situation for us.
“I remember those situations; you have to stay at the airport and fly a few hours, then you have the game at night, then usually the players cannot sleep and the next day you’re tired.
“You’re tired at the airport, you have to wait for the plane – I think it bothers the players a lot and for sure it’s a chance for us. Chelsea are favourites but we’ve prepared for the situation and we try to fight and make it a fast game.”
Fulham will be without three players for the SW6 derby, although Darren Bent returns to the matchday squad after missing last weekend’s draw at The Hawthorns for personal reasons.
“Darren was out last week because of a private situation,” Magath explained. “He belongs to the squad now and he has a chance to play.
“Fernando Amorebieta is injured. He has muscle problems and didn’t train this week so he’s not ready. [Kostas] Mitroglou isn’t ready at the moment but he’s developing and I think next week [at Cardiff City] we can count on him but the game against Chelsea is a bit too early.
“So those, and Damien Duff who is injured, are the only players which are not ready to play. The rest look forward to Chelsea.”
Mitroglou has played just half an hour for the First Team since his deadline day switch from Olympiakos, but Magath insisted he’s just erring on the side of caution as the striker gets used to playing in a stronger competition.
“He doesn’t have an injury, he has a lack of fitness,” he explained. “The Premier League is not the same as the Greek league. He’s a very dangerous striker, sure, but in this league here you need to be fit to come into a situation where you can score and defend. We need him to be able to work hard for 90 minutes and at the moment he can’t do that, but I’m convinced that he will belong to the squad next week.”