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Derby 5-1 Fulham Cham 04 1415 Daily Telegraph

last updated Monday 25th August 2014, 11:44 PM
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Tim Evershed at Daily Telegraph

Derby (1) 5-1 (0) Fulham

Felix Magath was last night under increasing pressure after seeing Fulham lose their first four games in the Championship to sink to the foot of the table.

It is understood that Magath, who was in charge at the end of last season when Fulham were relegated, was given two games to save his job at the beginning of last week and the German got off the worst possible start as his side were mauled by Derby.

The Championship was not supposed to be this tough for Fulham. Yes, they had a summer clear out losing the experience Brede Hangeland, Steve Sidwell and Kieran Richardson. But they were still supposed to have enough to bounce back to the Premier League.

They were amongst the favourites and were going to be fired by the goals of £11?million striker Ross McCormack. Instead Magath is fending off questions about his future and asking for "forgiveness" from the fans.

"I am the right man for this job, sure," Magath said. "I do have pressure, but it is the pressure of wanting to play at the top of the division not the bottom of it.

"I must ask for the forgiveness of the fans that spent time and money, because it has not been a good afternoon.

"The preparation was good and in our first three games we could have got draws. Now we haven't much confidence and we are not ready to fight. The result was very bad. I am convinced that the quality of the players is very good, but we are not gelling as a real team."

Fulham were second best all over the pitch as Derby scored five times through Jamie Ward, Craig Bryson, Chris Martin twice and one from substitute Simon Dawkins. And they looked like they could add them at will at the end, such was the state of the visitor's collapse.

For Fulham, only the central midfield axis of captain Scott Parker and debutant Ryan Williams competed effectively. Especially worrying will be the form of McCormack, who has yet to open his account since arriving from Leeds. The Scot cut a frustrated figure, with his only shot on target coming from a speculative long-range effort.

Derby, too, had endured a frustrating start to the season with a win, loss and draw coming into this game. There were fears of a Wembley hangover after the play-off final defeat but this display put those doubts to bed.

Manager Steve McClaren said it was key that his side responded well after the loss to Charlton in their last outing. He said: "This is the Championship, you are going to lose football matches. It was not the result on Tuesday, it was the performance that disappointed me. The key thing when you get beaten is how you react. The players wanted to rectify the result.

"We wanted to put a marker down, but it is not enough to do it in one game. The consistency will come. The standards we set at the end of last season were so high and it is difficult to get back to that, but we need to be patient."

Derby took the lead after 23 minutes when a well-worked corner routine ended with Johnny Russell picked out Ward to volley home from six yards.

After the break Scott Parker equalised with a neat finish from a set piece but it was a false dawn for Fulham. Bryson restored the lead with a fierce volley after great build up between Jeff Hendrick and Russell. Martin added a solo effort just two minutes later to knock the stuffing out of Fulham.

Martin struck again in late on knocking in a rebound before Dawkins rounded off the rout.

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