René Meulensteen faces a fight to secure a pay-off from Fulham as the club also prepare to dismiss Ray Wilkins from the coaching staff. The Dutchman was relieved of his duties as the manager last Friday, with Felix Magath recruited in his place to lead the battle against relegation from the Premier League.
Meulensteen, under contract until June 2015 at the club, has seen his position rendered untenable by the move for Magath, who took his first training session . The German has brought his trusted fitness coach, Werner Leuthard, with him to west London.
The Dutchman knows that he has been elbowed to one side and he did not report for duty on Sunday . He said last Friday night that he had been "released" but to all intents he has been sacked. He will not come back.
But Fulham, pushing a hard line in semantics, maintain that he has not been sacked, merely relieved of his first-team duties and they are exploring whether they have to give him a pay-off. It is unclear whether Fulham expected him to come in . Meulensteen would appear to have a case for constructive dismissal.
Wilkins, whose appointment as the assistant head coach Meulensteen had pushed for shortly after Christmas, is on his way out, although the club have yet to confirm this. His methods have failed to impress the players or the hierarchy.
The future for the first-team technical director, Alan Curbishley, is less clear, although the early indications are that he could be retained. He was brought in over Christmas by the chief executive, Alastair Mackintosh, who had long harboured doubts about Meulensteen's ability to lift the club out of relegation danger.
Curbishley was to provide Meulensteen with the benefit of his experience but, Mackintosh reasoned, he could also prove an option to take over if results continued to be poor. In the end, though, Mackintosh and the owner, Shahid Khan, turned to Magath.
The former Charlton manager is respected within the club for the highly detailed scouting dossiers that he compiles on opposing teams while he pushed, during January, for the recruitment of a defender and a holding midfielder, arguing that Meulensteen had to make the team more solid and harder to beat. Curbishley met Magath at the training ground on Sunday afternoon.
Magath worked with Fulham's full squad, with some of them having had to fly back to London on Saturday from short holidays – Meulensteen gave them four days off after last Wednesday's defeat by Liverpool. "If the players, staff and fans support us 100%, I am sure we have the potential to avoid relegation," the new manager said.