Martin Jol praises Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed


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The Independent Football

Fulham manager Martin Jol does not think there is a better chairman in the business than Mohamed Al Fayed.

The Egyptian has overseen an incredible turnaround in the west Londoners' fortunes since buying the then third-tier side in 1997.

Fulham have gone on to establish themselves as a mid-table Barclays Premier League outfit and reached the 2010 Europa League final.

Jol was quick to praise Al Fayed ahead of tomorrow's match against near neighbours QPR, whose manager Mark Hughes left the Whites last summer claiming they lacked ambition.

"At Fulham we are quite sound, we're healthy and we have got the chairman," the Dutchman said.

"Every time we want something, like Bryan Ruiz although maybe not the reported £10million fee, he has been very willing to help us because he is almost a legend here.

"He wants to help us and I don't think you can find a better chairman than him.

"When I was at Hamburg, for example, we did not have a lot of money.

"After I left they spent 30million. I don't know where that money came from but that is another issue. And at Ajax we had a big debt so I had to find other solutions.

"Here I have to go to his office every two or three weeks and the only thing he always asks is 'can I help you?' and 'are there any problems?'

"If there are any problems he will help us, which is what he did with signing Pavel [Pogrebnyak on transfer deadline day last month]."

Hughes and recently-departed striker Bobby Zamora are expected to be the focus of attention from Fulham's large visiting support tomorrow.

Both have highlighted QPR's exciting plans as motivations for their respective moves to Loftus Road, but Jol believes there can be no question about which club has a greater stature.

"I think that is something you don't need to think about," he said.

"We have been in this league for years now and QPR came up [in the summer].

"The first year is difficult and the second year is probably even more difficult if you look at the facts.

"We are established and they have to try and get established in the next couple of years.

"I want to develop my team playing-wise.

"I want to create a culture where we don't rely on one or two players.

"Of course you have one or two like Clint Dempsey who can make a difference, but it would be nice to create something up front.

"If you score 60 goals, you have a chance to be in top eight."

Fulham can welcome back former QPR target Andrew Johnson for tomorrow's match after several weeks out injured.

Fellow strikers Orlando Sa and Pavel Pogrebnyak are also fit to play, which Jol admits is part of the reason why the club allowed Marcello Trotta to leave on loan yesterday.

The 19-year-old striker struck eight goals in as many starts during a temporary stay with npower League One side Wycombe earlier in the season and will spend the next month at Championship outfit Watford.

"Although he came back from Wycombe and I involved him in the squad of 18, he is a young player and needs to play," Jol said.

"There were a few clubs interested in taking him on loan for 28 days so it is almost the same situation as Matthew Briggs [who joined Peterborough on loan].

"Trotta has gone to a new club and they have some terrific games over the next four weeks so that helped as well.

"That was the decision and he will come back after 28 days, but if we don't really need him and there are no injuries he will probably stay longer."