Midfielder JJ has been in fine form this season and scored the crucial away goal as we won the first leg 1-0 in Prague almost a fortnight ago.
However, he was off target in a match-defining moment back in Premiership action against Liverpool on Saturday when he agonisingly slid Edgar Davids’ low cross the wrong side of the post. Seconds later – 38,to be precise – Liverpool opened the scoring via Mark Gonzalez and went on secure a 3-0 victory.
“JJ realises he’s a big player for us and has taken that responsibility,” said Martin. “He was gutted at Anfield - but what can you say?
“He can’t sit in the corner and cry. He has to be a big man, mature and of course it hurt him inside but he’s a good professional, a good lad and he will try to do better and put things straight next time.
“He worked hard, played well and he’s had to play in a different position because Aaron Lennon is out and he filled in with no complaints. He played well in Slavia, scored the goal and hopefully he’ll do the same again on Thursday.”
JJ was upfront as always about the Anfield miss. “Straight after the game it affected me and I was pretty low, but on Monday I came in, spirits were up again and the lads are all determined to put things right.”
Look out for a full interview with JJ in our official matchday programme against Slavia Prague on Thursday.
Our first European home programme since 1999 also has an in-depth interview with Radek Cerny – of course, formerly of Slavia Prague – a Q&A with Danny Murphy, a special feature on World Cup winner and Bayern Munich great Paul Breitner and look out for the Last Word with legendary winger Cliff Jones, recalling the first great European night at the Lane.
Martin Jol revealed that Jermaine Jenas was 'gutted' after his miss at Anfield - but has every confidence he will bounce back in the UEFA Cup against Slavia Prague on Thursday night.