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SLOW OFF THE MARK

Posted on 11 May 2007  - 12:00

Martin Jol pointed to a slow start that nearly proved costly after a 1-1 draw with Blackburn kept the team on course for a UEFA Cup return next season.

Martin Jol pointed to a slow start that nearly proved costly after a 1-1 draw with Blackburn kept the team on course for a UEFA Cup return next season.One point is now required from our final game of the season against Manchester City on Sunday, thanks to Jermain Defoe's second half leveller that cancelled out Benni McCarthy's opener for the visitors.

It was not a classic, but the boys took control after the hour mark and could have snatched victory if Robbie Keane's late shot had not come out off the inside of the post.

"I know we did not start well, we played on Monday so I tried to do something by bringing in Jermain Defoe because he is fresh and on fire, but we didn't get going with our flank play or in midfield with support to the strikers.

"You know the quality Blackburn have with Pedersen and his crosses and they scored from an excellent cross.

"But we've got a lot of character in the side and in the second half we came back at them and stretched them in midfield. We took a lot of risks, but that is what you have to do because, for me, it was about tonight and we wanted the three points to get into Europe for certain.

"Our crowd gave us a big lift as we had some tired players out there. They worked hard and all compliments to my team because we could have nicked it."