Martin Jol was hoping for more of a cutting edge at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon as his Fulham side claimed a goalless draw against Norwich City.
The Whites enjoyed plenty of possession in Norfolk but didn’t really manage to test Mark Bunn in the home goal – a solitary Steve Sidwell effort proved to be our only attempt on target.
“I thought we could have made this one of the most exciting games this year because, for an away game, I thought we did well,” our Manager said. “We lacked a bit of momentum up front and a bit of tempo so we couldn’t hurt them. Although, I thought, especially in the first half, we were the better team.”
Sascha Riether was absent for a league match for the first time this season after he and Chris Baird made late withdrawals from the squad through illness.
“Our preparation was the same as it always is in international weeks,” Jol explained. “It was not fantastic as Bryan Ruiz joined yesterday in the hotel.
“Sascha Riether had to leave our camp and [Stanislav] Manolev was not even in the squad, he was in London and had to come over in a cab. This morning Chrissy Baird had the same problem with a bug.
“Two players made their debut; Manolev and [Emmanuel] Frimpong. It was the first time he [Frimpong] had to play with Sidwell so that was not ideal but we still looked okay and, hopefully, in the next two weeks we can do a lot on the training pitch with our new players.
“Manolev is an international player. Six weeks ago he was man of the match against Italy. Of course he was a back-up player for Sascha Riether and that is exactly what he did today so that was good.”
Play was halted as early as the first minute of the game when Dimitar Berbatov was forced off after he took a boot to the face, and Jol admitted it is not ideal having to play with 10 men, albeit for a temporary period.
“That is something that you get very irritated by,” he admitted. “When somebody kicks you and you have to go off [the pitch] for five minutes and then later Hugo [Rodallega] was kicked and he had to go off for a few minutes.
“He [Berbatov] still looks handsome. He came to the byline and said he’s still handsome because it was only a little thing – I think he only had one stitch.”