Martin Jol confident of Fulham progress after draw

Manager Martin Jol believes Fulham will have the initiative next week and has backed his side to progress despite yesterday's goalless draw with RNK Split.

The Cottagers endured a frustrating night in Croatia as they struggled in the Europa League third qualifying round.

After victories over Faroe Islands minnows NSI Runavik and Northern Ireland part-timers Crusaders, Fulham had been expected to secure another win at Dugopolje's Stadion Hrvatski Vitezovi.

However, Split proved dogged opponents throughout and Jol admitted his side will need to up the ante next week.

Jol said: "I don't want to get anyone's hopes up by saying I saw a Croatian player I would like to sign.

"I expect we will have more initiative in the second leg and we have to play better to score goals in their half."

He added: "I am satisfied with the result.

"They played with three at the back and two wing-backs, which made it difficult to pressurise them.

"We drew 0-0 away from home against a good side. I'm not happy with the result, but satisfied.

"There certainly was not a lack of effort from my players."

Despite naming a strong-looking starting line-up, Jol's side struggled to break down the resilient Croatian outfit to the disappointment of 86 travelling fans.

Fulham were guilty of some awry passing and Split regularly found space down the flanks at Dugopolje's Stadion Hrvatski Vitezov.

Jol explained: "They changed the formation, with three at the back.

"Normally we put more pressure on the centre-backs but we had to drop off, which I don't like to do.

"But they had only three or four good chances, so that is the only thing we have to work on.

"We didn't do enough with the ball in their half and we have to do better."

Fulham are likely to be boosted next week by the return of United States international Clint Dempsey, while Mousa Dembele could feature after a knee injury.

However, Bjorn Helge Riise may be a doubt for next week after collapsing in the post-match warm-down with what appears to be a hamstring injury.

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