Jol given breathing space with Ramos in background

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The Independent Online

Martin Jol will be given more time to save his career at Tottenham Hotspur but, according to sources, needs to "turn things around" before the international break in three weeks' time.

The club's directors are sensitive to the reaction of the supporters and are aware that, despite Saturday's 3-1 home defeat to Arsenal, the fans have not attacked the manager.

Talking to the press, Jol said: "I feel there are two worlds here in London. There is you guys and then there are the supporters who read your papers. It's amazing, no? Although they read your papers, they are still backing me and that's a great feeling."

The backing of the fans, and nerves over how the decision would be received, meant Spurs pulled back from sacking Jol and replacing him with Juande Ramos four weeks ago. The Seville coach, in London this week as his side face Arsenal in the Champions League, remains Spurs' No 1 target should Jol be dismissed. The board is confident that it can secure its man.

The board is also aware that injuries have bit hard. However, Michael Dawson, Younes Kaboul and Aaron Lennon have returned and Ledley King is moving closer to fitness. Spurs are also aware of the sensitivity at Seville over the recent death of the midfielder Antonio Puerta, and Ramos, embarking on his first Champions League season, has said he does not want to walk out mid-season. That may change in the coming weeks.

Spurs will have to consider other candidates should Jol be sacked, and there is a realisation that there is no point replacing the Dutchman other than with a manager with a proven track record. That opens up another unsatisfactory possibility – that Spurs will limp through the season with Jol in place, with the intention of replacing him next summer.

Jol needs to turn around results quickly. Four points from six games may represent the same total as this time last season – when fifth place was eventually secured – but, having spent £40m, the board wants to see progress.

Spurs face Bolton away, Aston Villa at home and then Liverpool away on Sunday 7 October before the international break. Jol will also have to negotiate a Uefa Cup tie against Anorthosis Famagusta and a Carling Cup meeting with Middlesbrough.

Jol said: "I can only listen to what [the chairman] Daniel Levy is telling me. If we play well, good football, there is no problem. If we don't have the results, then we have to analyse things."

Nevertheless Jol, who went to the Spurs boardroom after Saturday's game to have a drink with Levy and the other directors, may also have noticed another barometer of the situation. In the main club shop they are selling "Martin Jol – The Boss" T-shirts. Originally priced at £17.99, they are now going for just £5.

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