Jol still 'satisfied' with Spurs despite Ajax link

Tottenham Hotspur 2 - Fulham 0
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The Independent Football

Martin Jol last night said he was "pretty satisfied" to be Tottenham Hotspur's head coach amid speculation linking him to Ajax. "When there is a good club they are always linked with my name," Jol said after Spurs' victory against Fulham. "It's not a big issue. It's all hypothetical."

Martin Jol last night said he was "pretty satisfied" to be Tottenham Hotspur's head coach amid speculation linking him to Ajax. "When there is a good club they are always linked with my name," Jol said after Spurs' victory against Fulham. "It's not a big issue. It's all hypothetical."

Jol revealed that he had been close to getting the job at Feyenoord last year - before Ruud Gullit was chosen - and said it was that disappointment which prompted him to move to White Hart Lane, where he was originally No 2 to Jacques Santini.

It was the meeting with Fulham in October that had ended Santini's tenure. Spurs' fans will be hoping that the latest encounter does not lead to another change. However, the pull for Jol, the reigning Dutch coach of the year from his time at RAC Waalwijk, would be hard to resist if he was chosen to succeed Ronald Koeman, who resigned on Friday.

The speculation served to overshadow yesterday's result. Not that it would take much to eclipse a game which had, in the words of the Fulham coach, Chris Coleman, "looked like a draw all day" until late goals from the substitute strikers Frédéric Kanouté and Robbie Keane proved decisive. The goals meant that for the first time this season - and, astonishingly, only the second in 23 fixtures - Spurs won a London derby. What the result also showed is that, for now at least, Mido and Jermain Defoe is not a partner-ship. They are two predators going for the same game, and the latter, in particular, suffered from the lack of understanding.

Fulham left in the knowledge that not only had they failed to muster a meaningful shot on target - Papa Bouba Diop came closest, hooking narrowly over after Spurs had taken the lead - but that they were culpable for both goals. "We know Tottenham are a good team and they score goals, but they concede goals as well and we didn't threaten them," said Coleman.

With a dozen minutes to go, Fulham surrendered possession and Andy Reid barrelled forward, only to have his heels clipped by Lee Clark. Kanouté stepped up and, from 25 yards, curled the ball low and right-footed beyond Edwin van der Sar. As comfortable as the strike was, the Dutchman was also at fault - and admitted so. "You'd expect Edwin to deal with it," said Coleman. "He's devastated." The goalkeeper got his footwork - and his wall - wrong. To add insult Kanouté was, Jol pointed out, not supposed to take free-kicks. "He gambled and I don't like that - but he was right," he said.

Then, in added time, Fulham again lost the ball. This time Simon Davies sent Keane away, and as Luis Boa Morte backtracked he stumbled, and the Irishman eased away, rounded Van der Sar and rolled the ball into the empty net. He had earlier spurned three chances to increase the lead.

Before the goals, Spurs had failed to penetrate. Fulham's strikers had pressed their defence, preventing them from ferrying the ball. Instead, there was a series of punts forward and increasingly frantic, headless attacks.

In the beginning, Mido took this as a cue for a spot of individualism. Four times in the first half he shot from impossible angles - and with infuriating results - while headers from Michael Brown and Ledley King missed the target before Reid, cleverly, toe-poked an effort from the area's edge. In the second half, Spurs upped the tempo further and finally broke through once Reid's influence grew and Kanouté arrived. "We were a lucky bunch," admitted Jol, who has set a "top- eight finish". Spurs fans will hope that he himself is not now charmed away.

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