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THE JOL VERDICT

Posted on 15 May 2007  - 12:00

Martin Jol reflects on our fifth place finish in the Premiership and our season as a whole in the last Jol Verdict of 2006-07...

Martin Jol reflects on our fifth place finish in the Premiership and our season as a whole in the last Jol Verdict of 2006-07...

I THINK FROM looking at the league table, our fifth place finish was the maximum result and outcome for us at this stage, given the demands placed on us this season. Sometimes, like a couple of weeks ago when I was awake through the night, I thought if we could match last season's finish it would be marvellous and now we have done that.

We have had good results lately and have enjoyed good runs over the course of the season. It is about spells and we certainly had a good one after exiting the UEFA Cup against Sevilla. When you only have to focus on one competition it is a lot easier and we proved that.

I wouldn't have swapped our experience this season for that of last, we all enjoy being involved in the cups and they have been a big part of this campaign. We had a bad start, but it lasted just six games in which we played Manchester United and Liverpool away, but we should have scored before they opened the scoring. Bolton, of course, was also a disappointment on the opening day.

After that period we got going and played in all the cup matches - won eight games in Europe - and pushed up to a better position in the league, while having a game in hand. Many people didn't notice when we were in ninth that we did have another game to play, and later two, that would put us in the top six if we were successful. That is what happened.

We had a final meeting with the players on Monday morning and we had a big league table on the wall. I know that our 60 points is not as good as last season's 65, but then I look back at the away game against Watford, the home one against Newcastle when we had 24 goal attempts...I think if we do better defensively next season - I don't want us to concede the amount of goals we have been - we can do better.

We are on a good level and maybe we just need one or two little ingredients to be really top class. We will try and do that.

What we must take into account when we look back at the season is that Robbie Keane, Aaron Lennon, Ledley King, Jermaine Jenas and Teemu Tainio were out for long periods. During the season you can't use such facts as excuses because people don't like it, but when I analyse my team I have to take into consideration players who are not there.

We had to chop and change while competing in all the cups and still managed to win over 30 games, so you have to say it was a good season. I think we have done well over the last three campaigns, but it is about a little bit of luck and having most of your players available to you. If you look at Ledley on Sunday, he was the main reason - along with Jermaine Jenas - that we did well. On Thursday against Blackburn Jermaine wasn't there and we looked a little vulnerable in midfield.

I believe our players have gained significant experience over the course of this season, but we are still not strong enough. We do well, but it is one of the reasons why we are not so successful against the top sides. We play well against most teams, but against the top sides you need that physical strength as well.

That is the only thing we lack a bit of sometimes. If we can stop conceding goals from set pieces and be a bit stronger physically, I think we will only go forward and pick up more points.

I don't see any reason to go on holiday having been critical, I've told the players to enjoy it, take a couple of weeks off and then start to get themselves fit for our first training session back.

The players have certainly earned their rest this summer. We have played 59 games this season- more than any Spurs side has played for 15 years- and the boys have shown real character and resilience at times. I am very proud of them.

Our fans have once again followed us in big numbers - over one million came to White Hart Lane over the season. We are a big club, there is a real buzz about the place and what I want is to carry that into next year and improve it.

I won't get carried away or put pressure on my team. If we compete, challenge all the time and play well - which is the important thing - we will pick up the points we want.

What can I say about our fans? I repeat myself all the time, but they have been the 12th man for us with their amazing support.




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