THE JOL VERDICT
Martin Jol offers his considered verdict on the 5-1 defeat of Charlton Athletic at the Lane on Saturday...
Martin Jol offers his considered verdict on the 5-1 defeat of Charlton Athletic at the Lane on Saturday...WE LAST GOT five goals in the league the season before last and I am happy we were able to manage a repeat against Charlton on Saturday. We had Fredi Kanoute among our striking options then, but I have to say Dimitar Berbatov is now someone who is looking extremely dangerous, along with Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe - who looks sharp and added to the goal he got against Wigan.
We looked effective and when that is the case you often score more goals. Before this we haven't converted so many chances - although we have got good results - and this was exactly what I wanted.
On the other hand, when we got to five with time to spare, I would have liked us to move onto six or seven. We started dropping off though and we shouldn't do that, we should be more eager and more ambitious to score goals in the future, but maybe thoughts of our upcoming games - like Dinamo Bucharest on Thursday and Manchester City on Sunday - crept into our minds.
If you want to entertain your crowd, even though everybody was pretty happy with five, you must have that instinct to really kill teams off and push on.
When Charlton arrived at our ground they really wanted to do something and had the intention to hurt us with Andy Reid playing well off the front. I had a bad night's sleep before because I knew he was in good form and capable of doing something. He did when they made it 2-1.
I said we should not focus on the other players and worry about individuals, I said we must concentrate on ourselves. That is what we did.
I did make a change in the first half by moving Aaron to a more central position. If you play with wide players like him it is always good when you get the ball to them, Hreidarsson is a good full-back, but probably not as quick as Aaron and I thought we could be dangerous with some width on that flank.
After five or ten minutes it was clear they were playing with two up front - Sam and Bent, with Reid in the hole - and we matched them up with two, which is always difficult. I had to make a choice over playing Steed Malbranque in the hole and tucking Aaron in-field, but Aaron is the more attacking player.
I played him in this position in pre-season, against Borussia Dortmund for example, and it didn't come off because he wasn't used to it as a young player. The more you see him though, the more you feel he can play well on the left, the right or in the hole, as well as second striker.
It was a bit of a gamble, I have to admit that, but after a couple of minutes I saw that he was giving Charlton problems. He did what I was looking for, he pressured them, made his runs, picked the ball up on the left, drifted right - exactly what I had in mind.