Just three games into the season, Fulham manager Martin Jol labels West Brom game 'must-win'

The Cottagers have lost their last two games after opening day victory against Sunderland

Fulham may have only played three Barclays Premier League games so far this season but manager Martin Jol believes Saturday's clash with West Brom is almost in the 'must-win' category.

A win at Sunderland on the opening day has been followed by a home defeat to Arsenal and a 1-0 loss at Newcastle, meaning the Cottagers have three points going into the match.

Although Steve Clarke's side sit bottom of the table having collected just one point, Jol believes his team need to register more points with games against Chelsea and Everton on the horizon.

"I see it as an almost must-win game," he said. "It is for them as well. If we win then we will be fine, if not there are teams around us and it's important to get out of the bottom."

If Fulham are to pick up their second league victory of the campaign they will have to win their first home game since the beginning of April.

But the five consecutive defeats at Craven Cottage since a 3-2 win over local rivals QPR on April 1 do not worry Jol as he searches to strike the right balance in his side.

"If you look at the teams they were Chelsea and Arsenal twice, the only very disappointing defeat was against Reading," he said.

"On the other hand we played three away matches and conceded one goal, we beat Swansea and Sunderland and then lost in the final stages of the game at Newcastle.

"People said our away form was not good, I agreed, the only thing now is we need to get points at Craven Cottage.

"If you get all the players on board it is only a matter of gelling together and finding the right balance.

"We have a lot of quality players now and that is good. I have to leave four players in the stand - and that is the first time I have had that. We have good players but we need to find the right team now."

Despite having belief in his squad, Jol will not be able to call upon a number of players who have been sidelined in recent weeks.

On-loan striker Darren Bent will miss out with a hamstring injury whilst defensive duo Aaron Hughes and Matthew Briggs will also be absent.

They join goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg on the sidelines but Jol will have deadline day signing Elsad Zverotic available.

The Montenegro international joined from Young Boys as the transfer window drew to a close and Jol is delighted to have the 26-year-old as an option.

"He is included in the squad, you know him because he played against England and he was man of the match in that game," Jol said.

"We were quite happy to get him on very good terms and I'm quite happy to have a utility player.

"We followed him over the last two years, he can fill in for Sascha Riether or even play...he is always in the [Montenegro] line-up.

"He can play in midfield, in front of the defence and he was a left-back - I needed a player who could fill in several positions."

PA

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