THE JOL VERDICT
Martin Jol looks back on defeat at Reading, the Carling Cup draw and ahead to Sunday's trip to Blackburn...
Martin Jol looks back on defeat at Reading, the Carling Cup draw and ahead to Sunday's trip to Blackburn...IT WAS A setback against Reading on Sunday because we didn't win an away game after going ten games unbeaten, but if you look at Reading's record you realise they have only lost at home against the teams at the top of the table.
My thinking is, if you have got the quality we have, we should not lose these games. People might say we are inconsistent, I don't think we are - only in terms of challenging the title, but we are not there yet. If you look at our run lately we have made progress and the game against Reading was one where we could have had the reward of reaching the top seven again, to go with our place in the last eight of the Carling Cup and going well in Europe.
It was disappointing and I expected us to do better. I said two months ago that we would have our disappointments and on Sunday we lacked the mentality of being strong and wanting to win all the time. I don't think we are far off, but it is a matter of being tough.
You can be internationals and it doesn't mean anything if you don't work as a group and do the 'dirty work' that needs to be done on the pitch.
Putting together an unbeaten run creates a degree of added expectation and that is our problem - everybody should expect a lot from us. It is the little mistakes we make that cost us on occasions and we have to do better.
Teemu Tainio trained on Tuesday and that is good news because you want as many of your players available as possible. He will certainly push the other players for his spot because he is a winner and will want to get back quickly.
Another recent event was the draw for the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup on Saturday where we were paired with Southend at home. The first thing that comes into your mind is not to underestimate these sort of teams and I won't do that.
December won't be an easy time, we've got a lot of games, but hopefully we will be able to field a strong team because we want to win this competition.
Next for us is Blackburn away and they are a difficult team to beat. Savage and Reid have been out due to injury so they have not been able to field their best side, but they work hard and it will be a challenging afternoon for us. If we play our football, be strong and tough like we were in Turkey and Prague, we can do well on our travels again.