Jol cautious despite Tottenham's progress

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The Tottenham coach, Martin Jol, maintains his team are not yet the "footballing machine" he wants them to be despite going five games unbeaten. Jol's side face MK Dons in the Carling Cup at the National Hockey Stadium tonight and the Dutchman is hoping it will be the start of a long run in the competition. But after turning Tottenham's season around following a poor start, Jol remains cautious.

Jol said: "I feel that we are currently making steady progress and have demonstrated more stability and containment. We are still not the football machine I want us to be with so many individual parts working together efficiently - but that's for the future."

Meanwhile the striker Jermain Defoe has been given an endorsement from his former West Ham manager Harry Redknapp. The Portsmouth manager says there was nothing malicious in Defoe's alleged "bite" on Javier Mascherano's arm in Tottenham's game against West Ham. Defoe was booked by the referee, Steve Bennett, and Fifa regulations prevent the Football Association from taking retrospective action.

Mascherano was, apparently, dismayed that the Tottenham and England man would not face any further punishment. But Redknapp said: "It was something he shouldn't have done, but it was almost like a bit of fun.

"I think he didn't know how to react, whether to push him in the face, and he was going to react in some way. I don't know if he actually sank his teeth into him. It was a strange thing to do. He'll get ticked off for it, but I hope he doesn't get into too much trouble for it.

"He's the most unaggressive lad you've ever met. He's not an aggressive footballer. He's a great player who takes the knocks and gets on with it. You never see him get booked, or kick anybody, or try to hurt anybody. I just think it was a silly reaction. I'm sure he regrets it now, but there was no real malice in what he did. I would see it as mischievous. He reacted silly, and it hasn't been taken kindly to."

Jol labelled Defoe's actions as a "comical nibble" and was confident that Mascherano would bear no scars. However, Mascherano hit back, saying, "My reaction was that this was not a joke. To receive a bite was the worst thing that's happened to me since I came to England. Things weren't going well for me, but this was unexpected and outrageous."

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