THE JOL VERDICT
Martin Jol looks back on over Reading and ahead to a big night in Seville on Thursday…
Martin Jol looks back on over Reading and ahead to a big night in Seville on Thursday…IT WAS AN open contest against Reading on Sunday though not such a pleasing aspect was that we didn't convert the chances we created and we needed a penalty kick to win the game. The penalty was maybe a bit harsh on Reading but, on the other hand, I felt we did have a good goal disallowed.
In my opinion the win was well deserved, but we do need to score goals from periods when we are playing well and be sharper in dangerous areas. Sometimes we do that and sometimes we don't, but if you keep a clean sheet it is not such a big problem.
Our play warranted more goals though, Aaron, Steed and JJ were always there in support of the strikers and getting in the opposition penalty area. I was pleased with the way we played and have been very pleased with the way we have performed lately.
We turned a corner a couple of months ago and we turned it in a brilliant way. We had a great run in November-December and hopefully we can do it again because that would mean we end the season in a really positive fashion.
Our confidence is there and some of that comes with not having too many disappointments on the injury front. Sometimes in football when you play so many games players can be lost to you in a split second, like on Sunday with Tom Huddlestone.
He is an important player for us and has played a lot of matches, although not so many lately because I feel we have been doing okay with our midfield balance. Now he has injured his knee and could be out for three or more weeks and that is a blow.
The positive news is that Ledley is doing well and could be back soon, Anthony Gardner is progressing quicker than expected, Hossam Ghaly is back after illness and Teemu Tainio trained fully with the squad on Monday. Mido is also fit and training well.
I don't like to single out individual players, but I noted that Michael Dawson made the 150th league appearance of his career on Sunday and it is a fine landmark for him at the age of 23. He has played in 49 and a half games for us this season and - touch wood - he will stay fit because he must be a big contender to be our Player of the Season.
JJ was sick before the Reading game, but still wanted to play and performed in a way typical of him in winning Man of the Match, so there are a good few players who have a special character. That is what you've got to have when you want to do well for your club and have big ambitions - which we have.
We have another big date awaiting us on Thursday and for some of the players it will be one of the biggest games of their careers. We are looking forward to it as it will be an occasion, but it is more about getting the right result and hopefully we can build a platform for the return at White Hart Lane.
Sevilla are one of the best teams in Europe so if we can compete against them and do well it will be a big step for us. These are exciting times, that is for certain.
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