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MARTIN'S POINTER

Posted on 9 January 2006  - 12:00

Back at the Riverside after Sunday’s 3-3 draw against Middlesbrough, Martin Jol reflected on our improvement since last season’s European aims faltered at the same stadium in May.

Back at the Riverside after Sunday’s 3-3 draw against Middlesbrough, Martin Jol reflected on our improvement since last season’s European aims faltered at the same stadium in May.

We needed a draw at least to maintain hopes of a UEFA Cup spot last May but a 1-0 defeat took those hopes out of our hands and Middlesbrough went on to qualify by taking seventh spot in the Premiership.

Sunday’s draw again underlined the mentality and strength of character of the squad as we came from 2-1 and 3-2 down to grab a point via Mido’s late header.

It was the sixth time we’ve come from behind to either win or draw a match this season and we’ve now gone five matches unbeaten since the 1-0 loss at Bolton in October, our only league loss in 13. Indeed, we’ve only lost two league games all season, one away  all points of optimism as we enter the Christmas and New Year period in fourth place.

“Last season we needed a point at Middlesbrough and we couldn’t do it,†said Head Coach Martin.

I think we’ve improved in certain areas and it shows

“We have a better mentality, a winning mentality. Last season we did well with 52 points but we needed players like Teemu Tainio, Paul Stalteri, Edgar Davids and Young-Pyo Lee - all winners.

“We changed the back four as well and then we have Paul Robinson in goal, a great goalkeeper. I think we are getting better and better.â€Â

The inevitable question then asked by the media at the Riverside was Martin’s target for the rest of the season.

He responded: “At the start of the season we said maybe we can be champions and if we can’t manage that, we’ll aim to get into the Champions League and if we can’t manage that, hopefully we’ll get into Europe - the main thing for us is to improve as a team and improve our football and then the results will come.â€Â