Martin Jol has been told, in no uncertain terms it would seem, to drag Tottenham Hotspur into the Champions League, a realm Liverpool have become accustomed to occupying. But the Spurs manager, under increasing pressure to hang on to his job, protested yesterday that to compare the clubs, who meet tomorrow, is grossly unfair.
"It's totally different," Jol said, "but I feel we have the future. If you see Gareth Bale, he's going forward and scoring and he's only 18. They [Liverpool] made investments. We bought Bale, Younes Kaboul and Kevin-Prince Boateng but that is different. That is for now and also for the future. I would be happy if we had a settled team and pushed one or two younger players through. That would be an ideal situation but we are not in that situation so I have to play them."
Bringing new players into the team has contributed to Spurs' dismal start to the season and Jol has seen his position under intense scrutiny. After the defeat by Arsenal three weeks ago it was suggested Jol had until the coming international break to save his job, and Spurs have been unbeaten since with just Liverpool to go.
"If I had to go into all the hypothetical situations we would be talking for two hours," Jol said. "I've never heard anything about two games or four games. People said it was four games, then it was six games, then it was 10 games."
Spurs have not been totally convincing in the five games since Arsenal but dug deep to earn a point against Aston Villa after going 4-1 down. They were never in danger of losing their Uefa Cup tie to Anorthosis Famagusta but went a goal down in the second leg before Robbie Keane ensured a draw on the night. "It's character," Jol said. "But it's not about commitment or attitude, it's about organisation and trying to do the right things."
Jol is wary of Liverpool after Rafael Benitez's side lost in the Champions League this week. "Now they have to put it right, but for us it is important that we get a result and I feel if we get this game out of the way and get a result, then we have played three of the top sides already this season," Jol said.
It also gives Jol another chance to prove himself against the 'big four'. "We did well against Chelsea, we are the only team in however many years to score three goals there," he said. "Against Manchester United I had two out of three draws. Against Arsenal we've had four draws. I know that is not good enough but there are some teams who never get a point against them.
"First we have to try to get the points like we always did, like against Aston Villa at home."
Jol fielded Paul Robinson against Famagusta to give the goalkeeper a boost to his confidence after his errors against Aston Villa. Robinson was faultless in Cyprus and is hoping to take his form to Anfield. "I am looking forward to a nice busy game," he said.Reuse content