Jol relieved as Fulham scrape win
Published 06/10/2013 | 07:46
Fulham manager Martin Jol acknowledged Saturday afternoon's 1-0 victory over Stoke was not the most comfortable, but felt it was "unbelievably important" ahead of the international break.
Having failed to win since the opening day of the Barclays Premier League season, the Dutchman's position at the helm was looking fragile heading into the clash at Craven Cottage.
It had looked like their miserable run would continue as they stuttered against the Potters, but on-loan Darren Bent repaid Jol's faith with a late goal to secure a narrow victory.
"Relieved is probably not the word you use," Jol said. "You need results and you need to be in a good position.
"You need to be without pressure because any team under pressure won't perform as good as they are capable of. You saw that again.
"Of course we were a bit lucky because if you look at Stoke, while they didn't create a lot of chances, Robert Huth had clear headers from set-pieces.
"You work on that the whole week but they still get the clear headers. We need to do better. We have conceded a lot of goals through set-pieces and that is the only thing that didn't happen, but they could have.
"So everything is good, but not for me. We have to improve on a lot of things but I am still a happy customer to get three points as that is what we needed.
"It was unbelievably important because I can come up with all the stories and excuses and say that we have got a good spirit and that they are behind each other and me or whatever.
"But if you don't get the points, then everybody is in a big depression.
"We are in the same depression now as many - seven, eight or nine - other teams, so that is good. That gives you relief and confidence again."
Jol revealed a stiff side was behind Brede Hangeland's half-time substitution and Dimitar Berbatov came off due to getting a kick.
The latter's withdrawal in the 66th minute proved instrumental in deciding the result, with replacement Bent netting the winner.
"I was very happy with Darren Bent coming on for Berbatov, because if he would have stayed fit I would have probably left him on the pitch," Jol said.
"That was coincidence and it was great to have somebody like Darren Bent on the bench. He could have scored two."
It was a result Stoke manager Mark Hughes found hard to take on his first return to Craven Cottage since leaving in 2011 citing a lack of ambition.
The Welshman was infuriated by the failure to award first-half penalties for Philippe Senderos and Fernando Amorebieta challenges on Stephen Ireland and Jonathan Walters respectively.
Hughes also felt Pajtim Kasami should have been sent off after flinging an arm out in the direction of Erik Pieters.
"I thought we had a lot of control of the game," he said. "We are trying to create opportunities for ourselves.
"We did that, had clear opportunities from corners and set-plays and had good opportunities to pick the right pass, but never quite did it.
"But, in terms of the team most likely to win the game, I thought it was totally us.
"I think if everybody at Fulham was honest with themselves, I think they will agree they maybe got a bit fortunate to take three points out of that game.
"We should have two penalties and the boy Kasami should have been sent off, in my view, because he raised his hands. If you do that, then the boy has to go.
"They were key moments that shape the game and the outcome of the game. They are the ones you want the referee and officials to get right.
"Unfortunately, it affected us in a negative way because, given the time of those incidents early in the first half, it would have obviously swung the game totally in our direction.
"As it was, we were still trying to force the issue when they got a break through a misplaced pass from ourselves. They were able to play the ball in the box, a couple of ricochets and it lands at Darren Bent's feet - the one guy you don't want in those situations. I think that was their one shot on target in the whole game."