Manager Reaction

Saturday 12 January 2013 18:11

Martin Jol admitted his side had needed a second goal to finish off Wigan Athletic in Saturday’s disappointing draw.

The Whites led 1-0 through Giorgos Karagounis’ superb strike but failed to really test Ali Al Habsi thereafter and the Latics earned a point when Franco Di Santo struck in the second half.

Speaking afterwards, Jol said: “In the first half we had a problem trying to obtain them. They had players in little pockets. But we pressed them early in the second half on the flanks and it worked well.

“But we needed a second goal and it didn’t come. It was almost the same as the game against Southampton when we were 1-0 up but didn’t score again and they got an equaliser.”

Jol made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Blackpool in the Third Round of the FA Cup with Budweiser last weekend.

One of those was enforced after Steve Sidwell suffered a hamstring injury in training this week, with Jol deploying Bryan Ruiz in a deeper midfield role.

“Sidwell pulled out on Friday and we had a little problem in midfield,” said Jol. “We played with seven offensive players today so it was a gamble. If you score two or three then great but we can’t seem to play a settled midfield and that is not what you want in January. But we’ve got quality and that will pull us through. But we always seem to need two goals when, last year, one was probably enough.

“We’ve got a few central midfield players but Chris Baird is more defensive and Sidwell and [Mahamadou] Diarra are injured.”

Two plus points for Fulham were the performances of Karagounis and Kieran Richardson, the latter filling in at left-back and producing a solid display.

Karagounis struck his second goal in as many games and Jol said: “Karagounis is more of a number 10 but we’ve been playing him in a more of defensive position and he did well. He’s scored two fantastic goals, he plays with his heart and hopefully we can bring someone else in like him who can help us.

“Kieran Richardson was one of the positives today. He made some great interceptions and I was happy with that.”

Fulham now head to Blackpool on Tuesday evening (8pm) in their FA Cup Replay, with Jol adding: “It’s always nice to have another opportunity to stay in the wonderful competition but it doesn’t help that we have to play with the same team to try and get a result. Wigan, for example, played with almost a completely different team in the cup. We’ve got difficult games after that so I have a tough decision to make when it comes to selection.”