Jol: Why I'm the man to revive Spurs

Martin Jol springs from his seat and turns over an A1 flipchart to reveal a cartoon character with a huge grin and messy hair. "Jermain [Defoe] drew that for me," he says. "I wanted him to show how he feels [when he scores]."

Martin Jol springs from his seat and turns over an A1 flipchart to reveal a cartoon character with a huge grin and messy hair. "Jermain [Defoe] drew that for me," he says. "I wanted him to show how he feels [when he scores]."

Jol turns another page to reveal the words, "Top mentality. Top intensity." "Predictable," he says. "We're too predictable. That is not a criticism of my team because they do give 100 per cent, the best. We have a good mentality but we want a top mentality. A player like Defoe has a good mentality but if he wants to play for Arsenal or Spurs next year, when they are a big team, he needs to have a top mentality."

Jol gives an example, as is his wont. "When you get a corner against [Aston] Villa and you are short [of reaching the cross] by maybe 10cm - my missus might say 20cm - then you don't have a top mentality. You know what I mean?" It's hard to miss the messages as they are boomed out by the new head coach at Tottenham Hotspur. He is expressive, funny, visual - and infused with endless confidence.

And this at a club who today, after that defeat at Villa, could equal their worst-ever run of League form if they lose at home to Middlesbrough. A seventh straight defeat would hit the lows plummeted in 1994 - when Osvaldo Ardiles was in charge.

Jol knows him well. After all Ardiles and another future Spurs manager, Glenn Hoddle, were in the midfield in 1981 when West Bromwich Albion arrived at White Hart Lane. Some have described Jol as a journeyman - which is harsh - but he scored the winning goal for the visitors that day. "They [Spurs] were a good side, yes," Jol says. "But not that good. They didn't beat us, did they?"

If a buzzword is tagged to Tottenham on the 48-year-old Dutchman's flipchart it would be "underachievement". But why has it happened? "We could sit down and have a pint and I could give you my opinion, images, a bit of understanding. Because I like that and you'd say 'maybe he's right'," Jol declares. "But I'm not certain. Who am I to judge all those managers and all those circumstances? But it is a bit awkward that they bought all those players for all that money and they didn't do the business."

Jol is Tottenham's ump-teenth manager since the departure of Bill Nicholson in 1974. He is well aware of the legacy. "Maybe you've heard the story, but it was blown up because you are English, that I want to have the same feeling as Bill Nicholson after his career," he says.

"I've told the players that is the best feeling you can have. When you quit your career and you are at home and you can say 'I have that'. In my days in Holland, if I go to my village and they see me there is a good feeling because I've achieved something. And you all wrote 'he wants to be the second Bill Nicholson'. That's different, because I can't be, you can't compare me to him. But I want a bit of that feeling so it would be a big frustration if I'm not given the time. I've told everyone, I've told Frank and Daniel to give me time. If they don't the club will start all over again."

Time. It's another word for Jol's flipchart. As is tools - by which he means the right players. Frank is Frank Arnesen, Spurs' sporting director, Daniel is the club's chairman, Daniel Levy. At a club dinner last week, with the board and players present, Jol spoke. "You need a good cohesion, a good atmosphere, a good spirit. They were all there and I told them."

The atmosphere has certainly improved since the departure of Jacques Santini. Jol is loath to criticise the man he replaced but, clearly, is keen to distance himself. "The awful thing is that I've only been here two weeks and I would have loved it to have been from pre-season because you can see all the little diseases and all the little things to put right," he says, glossing over his involvement as Santini's assistant.

"Maybe next year when we lose eight games on the trot, which we won't, you can say 'you did it' but you can't say that about me now. The only thing I can say is that it is not my record."

The team need to change. "The balance is not right," Jol says. "We don't have the best creativity out on the flanks." He has already told Arnesen that he will make Spurs "turn the corner". "You need people who have the solutions and answers," he says. "And I think I know a lot of the answers. Maybe you see the same questions but don't know the answers because you are not a manager. But from a mouse I can't make an elephant for the wing."

Therefore he could do, he says, with a David Ginola or a Chris Waddle. Instead, for now, he might have to get by with Rohan Ricketts, recalled from Coventry - although he expects to be backed with cash during the January transfer window.

Wingers may be in short supply but confidence is not from the man who was voted the best coach in Holland. A messiah then? "No, bloody hell," Jol replies. "If I say I'm one of the best, you will say I'm big-headed. You are a bit cynical - and that is good. But I want to prove my point."

Nevertheless he compares himself to Arsenal's Arsène Wenger and Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson. The latter he saw talking in a documentary. "Someone said 'how did you shape the team, how did you...' 'No,' he said, 'I didn't shape it, I had luck'. He [Ferguson] had problems in his first few years, yes. And then he had luck." And he used it. He got the best out of his players.

"That is one of the qualities I appear to have," Jol says. There are three "top" managers in England, he claims. Chelsea's Jose Mourinho is the third. Jol wants to be the fourth. "I hope I will be here," he says of the future, "and I want you to say 'bloody hell he said it and he did it'."

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