Bobby Zamora exit good for Fulham insists Martin Jol

 

Martin Jol believes Fulham are better off for the departure of wantaway striker Bobby Zamora.

The 31-year-old left Craven Cottage for west London rivals QPR this week, moving for a fee that could be worth more than £6million.

There has been much speculation in recent months of a rift between Zamora and Jol, although the pair have always been quick to play down such talk.

The latter was again coy when asked about their relationship today, but admitted it was a good time for the striker to leave.

"The talk of a rift wasn't just over the past couple of weeks, it was over the last couple of months and probably since August," Jol said.

"Bobby wanted to move so we had to wait for a good offer and QPR made a good offer.

"It was only a matter of making a decision of whether to keep him or let him go.

"I had the opportunity to get somebody else, who is a bit younger in Pavel [Pogrebnyak].

"[I would] not [say he is] better because Bobby was a good player for us so all credit to him.

"It was just about making a decision for us.

"I think in the games he played he always gave 100%, but if players ask for a move you get the impression [he doesn't want to be here].

"If you ask your boss to move, I think he will get the impression you don't want to work for him.

"That is the only impression I got. He wanted to move."

He added: "We have a good atmosphere here, a good spirit and they all want to play for the club.

"You have to appreciate for me the most important thing is that they want to play for Fulham and that they want to play with their heart."

Fulham began life after Zamora with a whimper last night as West Brom secured a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage.

The west Londoners looked bereft of attacking ideas apart from Clint Dempsey's second-half goal as they played without a recognised striker.

Fulham will be boosted by Mousa Dembele's return from a hip injury at Manchester City this weekend, although striker Andrew Johnson continues to miss out with a groin problem and new signing Pavel Pogrebnyak is waiting for clearance.

Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer could also return after a spell on the sidelines, but Jol today revealed Steve Sidwell faces up to six weeks out with a hernia injury.

"We had an injury to Steve Sidwell and he will be out for a long time for four, five or six weeks," the Dutchman said.

"He had a hernia operation as you know and it is almost the same problem.

"He had an operation and we have to wait but we fear he needs another operation."

Sidwell managed to play the full 90 minutes last night against West Brom, whose manager Roy Hodgson was given a standing ovation at his former stomping ground.

The match marked the former Fulham manager's first return to Craven Cottage after a highly successful spell that saw the west Londoners reach the 2010 Europa League final.

"It is a happy ground for me and it is great to know the good times we had here are remembered and appreciated," Hodgson said.

"The club is moving on now and has done extremely well in the last year and a half to become a lot more stable perhaps than even we were during those two or three years I was here.

"It was nice to know that sometimes the work you have done in the past is still appreciated in the present day."

Hodgson struck a relieved figure after the match as Somen Tchoyi came off the bench to strike the equaliser.

"Tchoyi is a very dangerous player," he said. "He is unpredictable but he has got ability.

"Obviously at 1-0 down and with 12 minutes left to play, I thought it was a good moment to give him a chance.

"Luckily, a chance came his way and he took it with great skill really and made it look quite easy. It was a good strike at goal."

PA

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