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THE JOL VERDICT

Posted on 24 April 2007  - 12:00

Martin Jol looks back on the draw at home to Arsenal and ahead to the next Premiership challenge of taking on Middlesbrough away on Saturday...

Martin Jol looks back on the draw at home to Arsenal and ahead to the next Premiership challenge of taking on Middlesbrough away on Saturday...WE WERE EXCELLENT for the first 20 minutes against Arsenal on Saturday before they created one or two chances like the one from Emmanuel Eboue, for example. The thing is, against a team like Arsenal you need to score two or three goals to provide yourself with a cushion.

The second half was totally different, I felt we looked a different team. At half-time with us in the lead I really felt it would be our day, but it ended up with Jermaine Jenas having to save the day for us with a very good goal. He is more than capable of producing such moments and it was his eighth goal of the season.

It was still disappointing for us because we needed the points, but in the second half they were better than us and probably deserved to win. They will most likely feel the same as us, we can't beat them, but they have only recorded one league win over us in the last two seasons.

I think it is something to do with belief, but we have shown a lot of character recently in coming from behind in games and that is a positive. The only thing we can do now is look ahead and try to get as many points on the board as possible from the final four games.

We had a few clear days ahead of the Arsenal match after a run of five games in 15 days, which has been pretty much a pattern throughout this season where you prepare-play-recover and then do the same again. In these few days we worked on our set pieces, but then we conceded from two on Saturday.

We are all in it together, we have to do better and last season we were critical when it happened two or three times in the whole season. It is strange, everybody has got to be involved and try and sort out the problem - the goalkeeper, defenders and the bigger attacking players as well.

I have talked about it with Ricardo Rocha, who told me they went through a similar thing at Benfica two seasons ago and that it was probably a confidence thing. You have to be tough, you have to defend and you should not afford your opponents the opportunity to have a clear header on goal.

It is something we have to do better on.

We are in a decent position after the weekend games if we can take advantage of our game in hand. It will not be easy because the game is against Blackburn and we've got trips to Middlesbrough and Charlton before that fixture at the Lane.

We will need more of the support we have enjoyed this season and as many players as possible available for the run-in. Teemu Tainio is probably going to be out for a while now but, luckily enough, our skipper Ledley King is back and hopefully we will have others like Anthony Gardner back for the last four matches.

It is Middlesbrough next for us and I feel they have been a very good side over the last couple of seasons. They reached the UEFA Cup final last year, which created a lot of expectations for this season, with not being back in Europe and having the commitments that other teams have had.

I appreciate them as a very good side and how many teams would play in the way they did against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday? They gave United a big problem.

What I know about Middlesbrough is that they've got a very good home record. I saw them play against Arsenal earlier in the season - it finished 1-1 - and Arsenal were fortunate to score the equaliser through a penalty. It will be a battle for us and the other teams involved in the chase for European places, we are all in it and we will fight for it.


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