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Posted on 3 January 2007  - 12:00

Martin Jol offers his considered verdict on the team's performances over the Christmas period...

Martin Jol offers his considered verdict on the team's performances over the Christmas period...OUR RESULTS AND performances over Christmas could have been worse, but they could have been better too. Against Liverpool, for me, the first half was a bad one where we couldn't create, while they only had one chance before the stoppage time goal.

In the second half I thought we could have scored two or three goals and we played better than them. Dimitar Berbatov came on and made a difference again and, while we had the likes of Jermaine Jenas, Robbie Keane and Aaron Lennon out, they had nearly everyone available to them.

I feel we are going in the right direction, but it was disappointing to see our first half performance. Aston Villa was good on Boxing Day and I still think we should have picked up three points at Portsmouth.

When you concede a soft goal like we did against Liverpool and Portsmouth through giving the ball away you mostly get punished. We have talked about it and when you lose the ball you must be more decisive and get one or two tackles in to get the ball back. We didn't do that, it is about us and we are still learning.

We have great talents. For example, I would not swap Tom Huddlestone for anyone else in England at the moment, but we've got to learn, be better and tougher in the tackle.

At Fratton Park I felt we played a good and organised game, but still conceded a soft goal. We should have scored one or two more goals that would have won us the three points away from home, which would have been terrific against a strong side.

I am not satisfied with our return over the Christmas period, but not too disappointed either.

It has been a busy period for us and that is something that is really satisfying, Portsmouth was our 10th game in 30 days. Portsmouth have not played in Europe, are no longer in the Carling Cup and we looked as fit as them so that was good.

We kept their crowd fairly quiet and were the better team, but if you are on top in a game you have to score goals. We we down at half-time though and I thought the players showed a good reaction.