Fulham owners hit panic button, says Meulensteen
Magath has been installed as first-team manager with immediate effect at Craven Cottage, as owner Shahid Khan, who is yet to speak to Meulensteen following his dismissal, looks to turn the club's fortunes around.
Fulham are bottom of the Premier League having not won a league fixture since New Year's Day, but Meulensteen, who revealed it was chief executive Alistair Mackintosh who informed him of the decision, admitted he was shocked at having been sacked after just over two months in his job as head coach.
"(I'm) Very, very surprised, (it's) very, very frustrating because you're trying to do something about it, but you haven't been given time to make it work," the Dutchman told BBC Radio Five Live.
"I haven't had a lot of time. I think people were starting to see what I was trying to put in place, I think that the two performances against Manchester United (a 2-2 away draw last Sunday) and Liverpool (a 3-2 home defeat last Wednesday) showed that.
"We were going back to playing some good football. I'm sure we would have turned it around.
"Hey, ho, that’s what happens in football. It’s not always fair. It is the story of my life with these management jobs."
Meulensteen, who replaced compatriot Martin Jol in the Fulham hot seat in December, insisted he had a strong rapport with Khan, but was aware of the owner's fear of Premier League relegation.
"I’ve had a really good relationship with him and good communication with him," he continued. "They are very, very scared of being relegated and that is why they have made the decision.
"I knew that the owners were freaking about a bit because Fulham could be relegated, but they’ve already had that attitude 10 games back.
"Fulham have been in the Premier League a long time and I think that it is going down to the wire.
"They have hit the panic button on emotions of fear, but that's what happens in football.
"It was a situation where I had to clear up the mess of someone else before I could building something of my own."
Meulensteen was not aware of what the future held for members of his backroom staff such as assistant Ray Wilkins, but expressed his disappointment at not having the chance to work with players he brought to the club in the January transfer window, including club-record signing Konstantinos Mitroglou.
"I feel really, really sorry for those guys," he added. "I still hope that they’ve got a future at Fulham."