Manager Reflection

Saturday 10 November 2012 18:58

Martin Jol hailed his Fulham troops after the Whites earned an incredible 3-3 draw at Arsenal on Saturday.

The visitors trailed 2-0 through early goals from Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski but went in level at the break through Dimitar Berbatov and substitute Alexander Kačaniklić.

Berbatov then stroked home from the penalty spot midway through the second half to put Fulham in front only for Arsenal to even things up again when Giroud scored his second of the game.

With the final whistle about to blow, Phil Dowd then pointed to the spot for a second time after deciding Sascha Riether had handled in the box – but Mark Schwarzer dived left to push Mikel Arteta’s penalty round the post.

“I was very pleased with the quality,” said Jol. “They were not afraid. They were brave and available to get the ball. I can’t remember playing here and creating so many chances. I still feel that it was a soft penalty and you will see on the television.”

There were some fears that Bryan Ruiz and Berbatov were too similar to play together but the pair caused Arsenal all manner of problems.

“They’re not similar,” said Jol. “Bryan is more of an offensive midfield player and Berbatov is a striker, like Robbie Keane who can drop in and try to create things. But today we thought it was good for Berbatov to go into the pockets and try and create space for other people.

“Berbatov gave them a big problem. But you would like to have other players to get in these positions behind him and to stretch the opposition. Sometimes we did and sometimes we didn’t but I still feel to play in the way we did at Arsenal and score three goals was great.”

It was yet another eventful game for the Whites this season but Jol admits there is still work to be done on the training pitch.

“I still feel you shouldn’t concede with corner-kicks,” he mused. “That is my only worry as we lost a bit of size in the squad [in the summer]. Sometimes you could change players to defend last season. But on the other hand, we’ve got some quality up front.”