THE JOL VERDICT
Martin Jol looks back on the dramatic weekend encounter with West Ham at Upton Park and ahead to our UEFA Cup trip to Braga.
Martin Jol looks back on the dramatic weekend encounter with West Ham at Upton Park and ahead to our UEFA Cup trip to Braga.AFTER THE GAME on Sunday was a great feeling. In the first half I really felt sorry for the supporters because it was not a good 45 minutes for us. In the second half we came back and if you score four goals to one it is great.
It doesn't happen too often, scoring four goals at a ground like Upton Park, but it proved to be a magical feeling. I thought at 3-3 I could live with a point having come back level twice, but to score a winner in stoppage time was terrific.
We knew we were good enough to create chances from the start, but we were up against a team playing for their lives and we offered them the momentum. We were a bit sloppy to start off with, we gave away some easy balls in midfield and gave them the chance to really express themselves in an aggressive way. All credit to them, I thought they showed a lot of determination and spirit, but at half-time we said that if we scored they would get nervous.
In the end my feelings were right, I felt defensively they would have problems against our attacking players, but who could have written a script like this one turned out? Their crowd were gutted and we were jumping up and down at the end - our supporters were terrific too.
Berbatov struck his free-kick very well to bring the scores level at 3-3 but, as is often said in England, one swallow doesn't make a summer, so we will have to see how he gets on from a free-kick next time. He mentioned it to me a little while ago, suggesting he was a specialist from his younger days in Sofia.
This was an opportunity for him and maybe we will now use him more in those situations in the future.
Jermaine Jenas couldn't play on because of a groin injury and I felt that all our substitutes made an impact on the game. Adel Taarabt, just 17 years of age, came on and displayed some great touches he has already shown in training sessions. He is a big talent and did well when he came on.
Our next assignment is Braga away in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup on Thursday. I went to see them personally last week and I can tell you that they use a lot of players in order to rest people for forthcoming big games.
Overall we have got a very good impression of them and if you let them express themselves on the ball they are very strong with their Brazilian influence. Braga are well organised at the back so it will be a difficult match away from home.
Hopefully we can get a good result on our travels and, in front of our crowd at the Lane, finish them off.
Braga's ground, Estádio Municipal de Braga, is very different and I have been there a couple of times. As many of you will remember from Euro 2004 there are no stands behind the goals and it is set in a valley. You go down in a lift to get to the stands and it is very strange, there are two big stands and I expect there will be quite a few people there.
I saw them when there were 6,000 in the stadium and that was a good atmosphere, so you can imagine what it will be like against us with our travelling support.
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