Martin Jol admits he has been frustrated by Fulham’s lack of match action this month.
Sunday’s (3pm) trip to Tottenham Hotspur represents Fulham’s second and final game of March and Jol is irked that the Whites have been unable to try and maintain their momentum from a three-match unbeaten run.
“It was very annoying to only have two games this month,” he told the press on Friday. “It’s not what you want. It’s better to keep your rhythm.”
The lack of games has one benefit, however, with Jol able to report a near clean bill of health ahead of the clash with his former side at White Hart Lane.
“We’ve got pretty much the same squad as before,” said Jol. “We’ve had no more problems. Mahamadou Diarra is still out long term. He won’t be involved. The rest are all fit.”
Tottenham, in contrast, have played three games since Fulham were last in action, including Thursday’s UEFA Europa League tie at Inter Milan which went to extra-time.
Jol, though, isn’t counting on any tiredness in the Tottenham ranks, adding: “They’ve got a big squad and won’t have any problems. Aaron Lennon had been injured but came on for a few minutes so that will be positive for them.”
Fulham may have moved back into the top 10 for the first time since November with their 2-2 draw at Sunderland last time out, but with the Barclays Premier League so tight, Jol admits the Whites are still ‘looking over our shoulder’ at the teams below them.
“It’s not a strange situation,” he said. “I can remember a lot of clubs and even Fulham over the last five years, being in a similar position. We are in a good position but you have to look over your shoulder because four or five clubs are alongside us and you don’t want to end up in a situation you don’t like.”
Asked if he had set a points target for his side, Jol replied: “No. You just want to get more than the year before and the year before that. We’d like to get to 40 points as quick as possible and then you never know.”
Jol spent three years as manager at Spurs and was the man who took Gareth Bale to White Hart Lane from Southampton. He admits he takes pride at seeing the player Bale has become, as well as the club’s continued battle in the higher echelons of the table.
“They’ve done well over the last three or four years, it’s not only this season,” he stated. “They are top-four material and at one stage under Harry Redknapp they were going for the title. I maybe started the foundation there and after that it just got better and better.
“I saw Bale at Southampton when he was 15. We followed him after that and I convinced him to come to Spurs. In hindsight, that was very satisfying as he’s the best player in the Premier League. He shows that week in, week out. He’s getting stronger and stronger and in the hole he’s probably even better.
“I even tried to sign him on loan at Hamburg. He’d played 20 games without winning at Spurs but they knew he was an exciting player. They did well to keep him.”
Finally, Jol was quick to dismiss reports linking Blackburn Rovers’ former Whites midfielder Danny Murphy with a coaching role back in SW6.
“I don’t see that happening; we haven’t spoken about it or thought about it,” said Jol. “He’s at Blackburn, maybe he will be a coach there. He would need to get his licence. In England, 10 years ago you could get your licence in the supermarket with your bacon and beans. But now you have to do your courses.”