Manager Reaction

Sunday 7 October 2012 18:29

Martin Jol praised his side’s ‘resilience and character’ after Fulham’s eventful 2-2 draw at Southampton on Sunday.

The Whites trailed 1-0 at the break through Jose Fonte’s fourth-minute goal.

But they produced a much-improved display in the second half, levelling when Jos Hooiveld turned John Arne Riise’s shot into his own net and leading when Kieran Richardson fired home with two minutes remaining.

But Southampton snatched a point in stoppage time when Fonte notched his second of the game after Richardson had given away a free-kick.

While admitting it was a foul by Richardson, Jol felt the Whites should have had a free-kick of their own seconds earlier for an infringement on Giorgos Karagounis.

“It was a 100 per cent free-kick,” said Jol. “I don’t know why the referee didn’t blow his whistle. Two seconds later it was a free-kick to them but it happens.

“I wasn’t pleased with their first or second goal. To concede two goals from set-plays; we are normally well-organised. But I was pleased with the resilience and the character we showed in the second half.

“We stood up and played and put them under pressure. Our best players got the ball out wide in the second half and we played football.

“We didn’t play in the first half; we were too worried about making mistakes. Our best player in the first half was our left winger [Alexander Kačaniklić] and he’s the youngest on the pitch.”

Fulham are now not in action until Saturday 20th October when they host Aston Villa, with Jol hoping to have Dimitar Berbatov and Mladen Petric available for selection.

The pair missed the Southampton clash through injury, although Jol revealed the pair were close to playing some part.

“Berbatov was very close,” stated Jol. “He told me on Monday that he would play but then on Friday he said he didn’t know if he wanted to take the risk.

“But both he and Mladen Petric did a test on Sunday in London. If Petric had passed it, then he may have been on the bench, in Berbatov’s case he might have started, but it wasn’t to be.”