By Sam Elliott
ROSS McCORMACK has warned the rest of the Championship that he is fighting fit having fought off the flab – even if he admits he still can’t get his head around his £11m price tag.
The Fulham forward opened his account for the club in Tuesday night’s 1-0 win over local rivals Brentford in the Capital One Cup.
He may not yet quite look as razor-sharp as he did during his prolific spell at Leeds United last season, but the signs were there in midweek that the Scotland international is finding his feet in west London.
Under-pressure manager Felix Magath said he has been working McCormack tirelessly since his arrival from Elland Road, accusing the big-money signing of being overweight when he joined.
McCormack had a slight poke back at his manager, saying his condition didn’t prevent him from notching 28 goals in the Championship last season, but was happy to shed more than a stone.
The 28-year-old said: “The problem I have had is that I pulled my calf soon after I arrived at Fulham and that set me back.
“The weight I was at, I played the whole of last season at, and I didn’t do badly. But the manager is the boss, he decides, so I have got to keep working.
“I’ve lost seven kilos but I’m not letting you know my secret! I was doing three or four sessions a day. Believe it or not it was quite enjoyable.
“The manager was quite blunt, he’s got a different sense of humour to a few managers I have had which is fine. He said my weight was a bit high and we’ll do everything we can to get it down. It wasn’t a bad conversation. I just got on with it.”
McCormack and his manager agree on one thing – his well-taken winner at Griffin Park should serve as a warning to the division that last season’s top marksman has found his boots once more.
“At the start of the season I wasn’t fit enough to play 90 minute but I obviously wanted to get my first goal as soon as possible,” he added.
“I have taken some banter from the opposition fans about what I cost, but I can’t do anything about the money the club paid for me.
“Can I believe the price tag? Honestly, no.”
Manager Magath, branded “an odd man” by former owner Mohamed Al Fayed after the German’s outburst that he hadn’t invested enough money in his final few years at Craven Cottage, says McCormack’s west London derby winner is just the start.
He said: “For confidence, it is important he scored. I am very happy that he managed it. He looked dangerous and but for an offside, he would have had two.”