THE JOL VERDICT
Martin Jol looks back on victory over Derby County at the Lane on Saturday and ahead to Sunday's trip to Old Trafford.
Martin Jol looks back on victory over Derby County at the Lane on Saturday and ahead to Sunday's trip to Old Trafford.I SAID TO the players before the game against Derby that we must treat it as our first home match because we did not do ourselves justice against Everton. We aim to win all our home games and it did not go at all to plan in our midweek fixture.
So, after conceding after a minute against Everton, we scored in roughly the same time against Derby and played well. We put them under good pressure, Tom Huddlestone made us tick in midfield and this helped Jermaine Jenas put in such a strong performance. We had some width from Wayne Routledge, while Steed Malbranque played a big role and I was very happy with him.
The early goal provided the trigger for our confidence and creativity, we had a good balance and Lee Young-Pyo gave us that on the left. He played for 90 minutes and did so well.
I was very happy with the crowd, they supported us superbly, they know what we have done before and what the team is capable of. It won't be easy going to Manchester United for our next fixture, but we will take a lot of confidence from this result.
Some players could be available again as we still had a lot of players out but, for me, this is no excuse. We need the points, we have to play well and we have to entertain the crowd. That is what we are there for and that is what we certainly did on Saturday.
However, I did think we could have done more in the second half and should have scored more goals, but you can't have it all.
Darren Bent got off the mark and that is what you want for a striker. If you look back at the Everton match there was no space for him to use his pace as he is a player who likes to drive into the spaces. It was difficult for him but with Tom in the team, he sees a pass and can make space for other people. Everybody played better and I was happy for Darren, even though if the ball had travelled another couple of inches Jermain Defoe would have scored.
He has scored his first goal now and hopefully it is the first of many to come.
It is Old Trafford for us next and Manchester United, like us, have not got off to the best of starts and we are now a point ahead of them. They are probably the biggest club in the country and everybody knows Sir Alex Ferguson will get them winning again soon.
United will be without Louis Saha, Wayne Rooney and Ronaldo for this game, but they will still be pretty confident. They have some new players that need to be bedded in and, along with the injuries, this can create a problem. Alex is strong though, he will get them playing better, but hopefully not against us.
We have had a decent record up there over the past three seasons - one loss and two draws - and people will always remember the Pedro Mendes goal that should have won us three points.
We will travel with confidence, we played with a good flow against Derby and that is what I want from the team.