Monday 29 December 2014

Jol attaches no blame to blundering Stockdale

FULHAM 1
SWANSEA 2

Ben Rumsby

Published 30/12/2012 | 05:00

Martin Jol refused to blame David Stockdale for Fulham's 2-1 defeat to Swansea today but insisted his goalkeeper's blunders were the only reason his side were sucked ever closer to Premier League drop zone.



Jol compared Stockdale's errors to a "Christmas gift" as he handed the Swans a 2-0 lead from which the Cottagers never recovered.

Fulham's defeat extended their run to one win in 12 games and left them just four points clear of the bottom three.

Stockdale was making his first Premier League start for almost 11 months following an injury to Mark Schwarzer and manager Jol said: "I can't blame 90 per cent of my players. They gave everything, they did everything.

"The only one who didn't have the best Christmas day was my goalkeeper and he's a very good goalkeeper. I won't blame him but you can see that we gave them the two goals – simple."

Fulham pulled a goal back in controversial fashion in a wet and windy rally when Bryan Ruiz's shot went in off an offside Sascha Riether but it was not enough to stop them slipping to defeat.

Swansea stayed 10 clear of danger, with Danny Graham and Jonathan De Guzman goals proving there was life beyond injured top scorer Michu.

Fulham were able to call upon the fit-again Ruiz, something that would have been more of a relief to Dimitar Berbatov than anyone.

Berbatov may have been poking fun when exposing his 'Keep calm and pass me the ball' T-shirt in the St Stephen's Day draw with Southampton, but he clearly missed the only other player in the squad to hold a candle to him and it did not take the pair long to rekindle their understanding.

Both teams looked like sides on a poor run of form, Fulham having won just one in 11 and Swansea without a victory in four league games.

So it was no surprise to see the opening goal come from a mistake in the 19th minute. Nathan Dyer scuffed a deflected cross from the right towards the corner of Stockdale's goal which should have been easily pushed wide by the 'keeper, who was last week recalled from his loan at Hull.

Instead, he slapped the ball straight back into danger, Graham doing well to readjust and hook it back into the net.

Stockdale produced another howler in the 52nd minute when he cleared the ball straight against Brede Hangeland and it rebounded for Pablo Hernandez to square for De Guzman to score.

Recalled Gerhard Tremmel showed Stockdale the way three minutes later with a decent stop from Ruiz's powerful half-volley, but he was finally beaten a minute later in controversial fashion.

Berbatov headed Frei's cross against the bar and his follow-up was blocked straight to Ruiz, whose point-blank finish was going in but hit an offside Riether on the way.

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