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MARTIN'S PRIDE

Posted on 13 May 2007  - 12:00

Martin Jol wore a satisfied smile after fifth place was confirmed in the Premiership with victory over Manchester City, declaring: "I'm proud of them all."

Martin Jol wore a satisfied smile after fifth place was confirmed in the Premiership with victory over Manchester City, declaring: "I'm proud of them all."

A fine volley from Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov's low strike put us in the driving seat in the first half but City hit back with Emile Mpenza's header and Paul Robinson was forced to make a superb reaction save from Darius Vassell to keep us in front.

As the exertions of the week started to catch up with us after the break, City enjoyed plenty of possession but rarely threatened again. At the other end, the energetic Didier Zokora was brought down for a penalty five minutes from time, only for Andreas Isaksson to save Jermain Defoe's spot kick.

It mattered little though as Everton's draw at Chelsea secured our fifth place for the second-successive season.

"It means the world to us to finish fifth again," said Martin at the Lane. "We knew we were in a fine position a couple of weeks ago. Although people were saying we had a slight chance, we had two games in hand and we knew we were on a good run.

"In fact, the only game we lost in the final spell was against Chelsea when we had to play 32 hours after playing in Seville. We normally got a result after a European match, but not this time.

"It wasn't easy though. We were the only team to play three games in six days this week and that showed in the second half.

"But we showed a lot of resilience and character and there were a few heroes out there.

"Of course, I was happy to see Dimitar and Robbie score the goals again, but I'm very proud of them all."