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THE JOL VERDICT

Posted on 18 September 2007  - 12:00

Back at Spurs Lodge, Martin Jol offers his considered verdict on Saturday derby defeat at the Lane...

Back at Spurs Lodge, Martin Jol offers his considered verdict on Saturday derby defeat at the Lane...WE DIDN'T SCORE when opportunities presented themselves at crucial moments on Saturday and ultimately paid the price because you can never count out teams like Arsenal at just a goal down.

We worked well as a team and, for much of the game, nullified the threat from many of their players, stopping them performing to their maximum. It was very important to restrict them in their play and we did that, while we still had the chances to take advantage of the spaces that were there to exploit. It was incredibly disappointing the way the game panned out because we desperately wanted to get a good result against them and I felt that if we had scored a second goal before they responded it would have been over.

We didn't and we gave away a cheap goal to let them back into it and in defending set plays we have to do better.

Defending set pieces is about toughness as well, We have to teach them to develop a killer instinct in dealing with the threat. The same applies at the other end and you could say the difference between them and us on Saturday was that they were more confident in their finishing.

Dimitar Berbatov will do better next time and he has said that himself. He rounded the keeper and all he had to do was put the ball in the net, but he tried to beat another defender. He knows and Darren Bent knows that they are top players and, that being the case, they have to do better and I'm sure they will do.

Elsewhere we lost our shape and, against a team like Arsenal, if you don't keep four or five players behind the ball they will punish you and that is what happened when they got back into the game.

Our start is the same as last year and to get back on track we need good team work and to cut out the errors sooner rather than later because we don't have the time. We have to combine our development as a team with getting the right results and that is what we will do.

Jermain Defoe was not included in the squad, something which has since attracted a couple of headlines, but the reason was that including two strikers on the bench as I have done many times in the past did not offer a suitable balance of alternatives.

Aaron Lennon was available again and if I had named two strikers I couldn't have picked him, for example, and I also had to leave Adel Taarabt out. I can only have four outfield players on the bench and made the decision to name one striker, two midfield players - one wide and one central - along with a defender.

I felt it was necessary, and very practical, to go with one striker on the bench. What I said to Jermain was that they have to push each other and when he gets his chance he has to take it. It is very healthy for the squad.

I don't expect him to be happy about it, but I am not here to make people happy as I have to make tough choices. Like I said, I have named two strikers on the bench in the past, but it makes your job harder because you have to name a midfield player who can cover both wide and central positions. If you have more specific players like Taarabt, Lennon or Wayne Routledge available then you have to make different choices.

There are other players who will be disappointed, but the main advantage of this situation is that everybody must be on their toes for when they come back into the reckoning - which could be at any time.