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THE JOL VERDICT

Posted on 7 February 2006  - 12:00

Back at the training ground, Martin Jol takes a considered look back at Sunday's 3-1 victory over Charlton Athletic at the Lane...

Back at the training ground, Martin Jol takes a considered look back at Sunday's 3-1 victory over Charlton Athletic at the Lane...

I THOUGHT IT was a terrific afternoon for us on Sunday and we needed it after the last couple of weeks. I wouldn't say it was a really bad spell, but we couldn't score a goal.

Liverpool didn't give us a lot of chances, while against Aston Villa we did well and should have scored but it wasn't to be. Fulham was also disappointing and the supporters know we had four or five players out and had some problems in the first half.

We again had some problems in the first half against Charlton, Aaron Lennon did well and looks a threat but we had to take him off at half-time, having already lost Teemu Tainio after 20 minutes. We sold some players who were not getting a game as you have to make space for the younger players - this provided an opportunity for Tom Huddlestone.

Johnnie Jackson came in and he hadn't played for us for 16 months. It was a young team and a young bench and it is always something to be proud of - in hindsight, once you have won.

The first half was okay and I thought we played well, but I don't agree with the assessment that it was our best half.

I thought we could have done better, but I enjoyed watching Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe, with the midfield also doing well. We didn't give away much at the back, but we didn't give away much at Fulham either.

Fulham caused Manchester United more problems with a couple of crosses that led to goals, while we lost out to a set piece. We have to learn to be more ambitious sometimes in away games and have to score goals. When everybody is not available I still feel we lack a little bit of a winning mentality and that is why we bought in the likes of Edgar Davids.

It was pleasing that the players who came in on Sunday did well - Huddlestone, Stephen Kelly - who had to play on the left again - and Jackson.

Robbie and Jermain did very well as a partnership in attack and I have explained my position many times. I have a simple philosophy, if they play together many times and they don't score many goals, it is sometimes easier for a smaller more tricky striker to have a bigger man alongside him like last season with Fredi Kanoute and this with Mido.

They are not 100 per cent in holding up the ball because that is not their game. I think on Sunday they did well, they attacked the space and stretched the other team. They worked the defence and that is what you need.

I said if you asked Sven Goran Eriksson - not that I have - would he play Jermain alongside Michael Owen, he would say no. But neccessity is the mother of all inventions and I thought, as I did against Aston Villa, that the two of them together maybe inspired each other and I think it worked.

For me it is a great thing because, before then, it didn't really work. If it works I am a happy man.