Football: Fulham sack manager Martin Jol

Fulham manager Martin Jol of the Netherlands reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Manchester United at Craven Cottage in London on Nov 2, 2013. Premier League strugglers Fulham have sacked manager Jol, the club announced on
Fulham manager Martin Jol of the Netherlands reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Manchester United at Craven Cottage in London on Nov 2, 2013. Premier League strugglers Fulham have sacked manager Jol, the club announced on Sunday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Premier League strugglers Fulham have sacked manager Martin Jol, the club announced on Sunday.

The London side have won just three out of 13 league games under the Dutchman this season, with only Sunderland and Crystal Palace below them in the table.

Fulham said former Manchester United assistant manager Rene Meulensteen, who only recently arrived at Craven Cottage as a coach to work under Jol, would assume responsibility for the first team with "immediate effect".

Saturday's 3-0 loss away to London rivals West Ham was Fulham's sixth consecutive defeat and chairman Shahid Khan said "supporters deserve better" than to see the club in the relegation zone.

"Today I spoke with Martin to thank him for his efforts on behalf of Fulham Football Club over the past three seasons and, in particular, since my becoming chairman earlier this year," Khan said in a statement on Fulham's website.

"Martin was very gracious and I appreciate his understanding of the situation. There is no question Martin is an excellent football man and he has my utmost respect for the commitment he made to our club," Khan said of the former Tottenham manager.

"However, our poor form and results this season are undeniable, and Fulham supporters deserve better. With more than half the season still ahead, an immediate change was necessary."

Fans had been starting to call for Jol to go and the arrival of compatriot Meuelensteen at Fulham's, rather than his, instigation earlier this month suggested his time at Craven Cottage was coming to an end.

Meulensteen spent several years at Old Trafford, rising to the position of first-team coach under Alex Ferguson before leaving the English champions when the veteran manager retired at the end of last season.

A brief spell in charge of Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala followed before Khan, a Pakistani-born American billionaire businessman who made his fortune in the US automotive parts industry and who also owns the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL franchise, brought him to west London.

"Rene Meulensteen was brought to Fulham to assist Martin and today was offered the challenge and opportunity to step in for Martin," Khan said.

"I thank Rene for accepting and now we move forward. I have great confidence in Rene and high expectations for our squad to respond."

The 49-year-old Meulensteen, whose first match in charge will be Wednesday's all-London clash at home to Tottenham Hotspur, was looking forward to his maiden stint as a Premier League manager.

"I appreciate the faith Mr Khan has put in me and will do my very best to honour his trust," said Meulensteen.

"We aim to get Fulham back on track, starting Wednesday night."

Meanwhile Jol, in charge for nearly two-and-a-half-years, said: "It was a privilege to manage Fulham, one of the great clubs in the Premier League or anywhere in the world.

"I am disappointed in this season but know there are better days ahead for Fulham and its supporters. I will always treasure my experience here and want to thank Mr Khan and everyone at Fulham for the opportunity."