Jol points the finger at players for Tottenham's woeful start

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The Independent Online

Martin Jol, the Tottenham manager, has responded to the critics who feel the club's poor start to the season is solely down to him and feels the time has come for his players to share the blame, naming the central defenders Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul as guilty parties.

Jol has been under pressure since Tottenham's defeat at newly promoted Sunderland on the first day of the league season and continues to see his position under threat with his side managing just one win in their opening 10 Premier League games. The Blackburn Rovers manager, Mark Hughes, has become the latest manager to be linked with Spurs but Jol maintains he is not affected by the speculation and feels it is about time that his players turned their season around.

"It is more a matter of the players," Jol said yesterday ahead of tonight's home Uefa Cup match against Getafe. "They have to do better. But I won't blame them if their mentality is good. Like with Michael Dawson, the only thing I can do is be angry and that is what I told them, 'I'm angry with you, but you have to be angry with yourself'."

Jol was reacting to the disappointment of Monday night's 3-1 defeat at Newcastle, where he felt defensive errors condemned Tottenham to their fifth league defeat of the season and left them third from bottom in the table.

"We still prepared them well and still had enough time even for Newcastle," Jol said. "We had Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But if Dawson is letting free headers in or Kaboul is heading on to the post in the first two minutes, then you have to educate them. They have to realise that if you are in this business you have to be tough.

"It's a learning process. It would be nice for any manager to come here and have the big bonus of Europe, but the one we can't change is our position in the league. We are all in the same position – now let's get out of it."

Dawson was below his best at St James' Park and was caught napping for two of Newcastle's goals. Jol has been accused by former Tottenham midfielder Tim Sherwood of getting his tactics wrong, Sherwood saying he is not the right man to bring success back to the club.

But Jol said: "It's his opinion and what he thinks, but he has no evidence. I do more and I have to do more on the training pitch on set-plays than at any other club because we've got to.

"If he said that, it was a total misjudgement. Paul Robinson told him as well, he was there and told him we were working on that. It is not easy when you have good players and you have to tell them they are not playing. But I think I'm good at this job, otherwise I wouldn't be here in this industry."

Jol says his health has not been affected by the speculation surrounding his job. He was also quick to end any rumours that he had a major altercation with striker Dimitar Berbatov on the eve of the defeat at Newcastle.

Jol added: "My health, under the circumstances, is good. I'm still here. That is what you need. I sleep a bit less than I did before, get a bit greyer.

"My wife is great, the best ever. She's very supportive. If I say up a bit longer, she has to stay up longer as well. That is better. There are always advantages, even when we're having problems. That's not my saying, that's from Johan Cruyff.

"I never talk about line-ups. But I would say that he's [Dimitar] starting in 95 per cent of the games. That was a little story to me, but not to the media. There's no issue."

One consolation for Jol is that Wales defender Gareth Bale has not broken a metatarsal in his foot and could be back in first-team action within 10 days. He said: "We've scanned the injury several times and nothing is broken. There is significant bruising, it is still painful and we'll know more once the bruising has gone down. I feel he will only be out for a week to 10 days."

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