Martin Jol blames absentees for Fulham's slump

Promising start has trailed off

Martin Jol believes Fulham would be enjoying a season like tomorrow's opponents Swansea if they had a settled starting line-up.

The Cottagers started the campaign surprisingly well given the fact they lost a number of key players during the summer, including Clint Dempsey, Mousa Dembele and Danny Murphy.

Things have taken a turn for the worse in recent times, though, with Fulham just six points off the drop zone after one win in 11 attempts.

Tomorrow they welcome ninth-placed Swansea to Craven Cottage and manager Jol believes his team would also be enjoying a successful campaign if it was not for the impact of injuries and suspensions.

"Last year Swansea played well but we still managed to finish ahead of them in a very good position," the Dutchman said.

"It is a very talented team, they play with a good culture but I have to say they can play in the same kind of line-up all the time.

"They have one or two different players maybe. They are in a very good situation.

"You see all these teams playing with the same sides all the time, they pick up the points and we had a big problem. I have to admit that.

"We had to change it around all the time and that didn't help us so Swansea is a team.

"If you see Michu up front or sometimes in the hole, he scores a lot of goals. He is there top scorer so he is certainly making the difference for them."

Michu looks unlikely to feature for the Swans in west London after suffering an ankle injury at Reading on Boxing Day.

The Spaniard has taken the Premier League by storm since his summer arrival, having already scored 13 top-flight goals.

Jol is wary of the threat Michu poses but will not be taking Swansea for granted regardless of the Spaniard's availability.

"Michu was a player known by his manager and that always helps," he said.

"It is the same that I had with Mahamadou Diarra or Dimitar Berbatov, which helps because you know for a fact they will do well.

"He knew him and it was probably the same with Chico Flores, the centre-back. He knew him as well.

"That helps but he has scored more goals than before so the Premier League is well suited to Michu.

"Sometimes he plays in the hole as a number 10 or up front, but they have other players that can play in that position.

"If you saw the game against Manchester United, they did ever so well.

"Man United pressed them and I thought they looked quite impressive, but they couldn't score the goals they needed.

"Then Swansea broke them and got the goal so got the result, but normally you will see Swansea playing in your half, trying to be dominant and trying to take the initiative."

PA

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