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Saturday 03 May 2014

Regrets for Solskjaer and Magath after relegation

Cardiff and Fulham managers cannot hide sadness after drop from Barclays Premier League

  • Felix Magath apologised for the disappointing defeat that confirmed Fulham's relegation

  • (Left to right) Steve Sidwell, Kostas Mitroglou and Darren Bent during the 4-1 loss at Stoke

  • Solskjaer praised the fans but rued Cardiff's finishing in defeat at Newcastle

A dejected Felix Magath conceded that Fulham were "not good enough" after their relegation from the Barclays Premier League was confirmed, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bemoaned Cardiff City's profligacy as the Welsh club's demotion was also confirmed.

"I feel very sad. I have to apologise for not managing the situation. The club asked me to – I tried."
Felix Magath

The west London club are guaranteed to end the season in the bottom three after being beaten 4-1 by Stoke City, alongside the Bluebirds, who lost 3-0 at Newcastle United.

Fulham delivered a disappointing display at the Britannia Stadium which Magath was at a loss to account for as a Stoke side managed by one of the German's predecessors, Mark Hughes, triumphws thanks to goals by Peter Odemwingie, Marko Arnatovic, Oussama Assaidi and Jonathan Walters – Kieran Richardson scoring the visitors' consolation.

"I've never been relegated until today," Magath, who took over in February, said "I feel very sad. I have to apologise for not managing the situation. The club asked me to. I tried.

"At the end it [the level of performance since his arrival] was better than before, but not good enough. Regarding today, the only thing I can imagine is there was too much pressure for the players. There was no reason for that performance – it's the worst game since I've been here. I didn't expect it. We were fighting against relegation. I told the team today was a great chance but we never took the chance.

"The thing is you can never say any player would like to see relegation, but they didn't fight enough, especially today."

Fulham must prepare for life in the Championship and Magath is keen to stay to plot an immediate return to the Barclays Premier League.

"It's hard for everybody who likes Fulham,” he said. “I like it at Fulham, the club and the English way of playing football. I want to build a new team, that was the idea when I came here."

Cardiff profligacy

Bottom of the table at the start of the day Cardiff needed a win at St James' Park to stand a chance of avoiding an immediate return to the Championship. The Welsh side came unstuck as goals by Shola Ameobi, Loic Remy and Steven Taylor earned Newcastle the points.

"We created an unbelievable amount of big chances, but we just didn't take them"
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Cardiff had chances to level at 1-0 down, with Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul producing a fine reaction save from Kenwyne Jones before Fabricio Coloccini brilliantly cleared an Aron Gunnarson effort off the line. Solskjaer was quick to express his disappointment with his side's attacking display.

"[The match] could have gone the other way," he said. "We created an unbelievable amount of big chances, but we just didn't take them. That's the thing in football, you have to take them. First half we should have had three or four. In the second half we should have scored another three or four, at least. We've had many injured players, ill players, this season. At some time it's going to catch up."

The Norwegian could not fault his players’ attitude and insisted that Cardiff will be going all out to win in their final match of the season against Chelsea to reward the club’s supporters before setting about plotting their immediate return to the top flight.

"The attitude and commitment the players put in the game, they didn't deserve to lose," he said. "They are a fantastic bunch who gave everything to the cause. We played really well, we created great chances but just didn't take them. It's about showing character and bouncing back again next season.

"We heard [the fans]. Our jobs make such a difference to people's lives – if we could have given them something for the journey back. They're unbelievable. We'll try next week. I'm the manager of Cardiff City Football Club. I'm not going to lie down."                

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