Jol impressed by Chelsea manager Villas-Boas

 

Fulham manager Martin Jol believes Chelsea's appointment of Andre Villas-Boas is proof that if you are good enough, you are old enough.

The 34-year-old was handed the Stamford Bridge reins in the summer, despite his tender years and limited managerial experience.

Villas-Boas led former club Porto to four trophies last season, including a Europa League crown that saw him become the youngest manager to win a European club title.

Jol goes head to head with the man 21 years his junior tomorrow and is full of admiration for the Chelsea boss, especially having overcome mounting external pressure.

"I sympathise with all the managers but that is the business," the Dutchman said.

"If you are not fulfilling the expectations of the people around you it is always problem.

"The only thing is to get results and points on the board - then it is the best life ever.

"If you do not, you are struggling. I am, though, not surprised by his age.

"I think it is quite adventurous and challenging to [appoint somebody of the age]. Someone who won the Europa League, some titles in Portugal, like Jose Mourinho before him.

"He is quite young but I do not think it is about age.

"It is the same on the field, too. My player [Kerim] Frei showed he is good enough to play at 18 so I do not think about it."

Jol has stuck with the mantra of talent being more important than age this season, blooding a number of younger players into the first team.

Frei was among those handed their senior debut and he has so far impressed the Fulham manager.

"As I said, it doesn't matter how young you are," Jol said.

"He came on against Swansea and earned a penalty. He played against Chelsea and did the same.

"He played against Odense in the Europa League and set-up the first goal and scored the second.

"That is something we can build on and it can push other players because he does not have a lack of confidence, shall we say."

Frei is jostling with Clint Dempsey for the left-wing slot at Stamford Bridge and Jol believes such squad depth has helped them get through what has been a difficult season so far.

The match with Chelsea will be Fulham's 33rd competitive game of the season, which includes 14 Europa League matches.

"Sometimes playing in Europe will be a problem and other managers will tell you that," Jol said.

"If you play in Europe you have to travel on Thursday and perhaps play an away game on the Sunday in the league.

"That could be a problem and it showed, and with other teams as well.

"But we are still on the fringe of things and we were still on the fringe before, with the possibility to win games.

"If you look at the league table, we need to focus on wins and getting points on the board."

PA

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