Martin Jol admits that the 2012/13 season has been a trying one at times, but insists there are positives to be taken from another campaign that has at least secured another term of Barclays Premier League football for Fulham.
The Whites started the campaign in splendid fashion and also enjoyed a fruitful few months after the New Year, but our current winless run and the sticky patch before Christmas will lead to a lower finish than our Manager had hoped for.
“It’s been an indifferent season,” he confessed. “We had two unbelievably good spells – the first spell we were in the top five, the top six, and the third spell I was very happy to get 40 points because before Christmas I really thought it would be difficult.
“If you can remember, it [the first bad spell] started after Brede Hangeland was suspended [after his red card against Sunderland in November]. But, overall, although some people say it’s arrogant, I still count our blessings to be on 40 points.
“Of course you would like to have six, seven, or nine points more - like last year when we went to 52 points. We’ve got 92 points over the last two seasons – it’s not fantastic but it’s not bad either. You would like to finish the season on a very good note with a couple of wins.
“You need the results. You can talk about Chelsea and Arsenal, and Newcastle and Everton away, but we should have beaten Reading at home – that was a vital game for us. There was nothing at stake for us, nothing at stake for them, but in football it’s still about the results and I feel that Sunday is another opportunity for us to get something again.”
Fulham face a Swansea City side on Sunday that has won an army of fans during their two years in the top flight, but Jol emphasised how one game can demonstrate the fine lines in the Premier League.
“The Swansea game at home, we were the better team,” he recalled. “We would have been on 43 points [if we had won], they would have been on 43, and everyone is considering Swansea as the team of the year. So it’s close.”
The current barren spell that the Whites find themselves in had led to some quarters of the media suggesting that Jol may not be in charge at Craven Cottage come next season – a rumour that the Dutchman laughed off before highlighting his desire to win a trophy with the Club.
“It’s a fantastic place to be,” he said. “Fulham is a good Club, our Under-18s are in another Final and we’ve got three or four very good youngsters who will be in the First Team next year or the year after. It’s not always easy, but I think the fans have been pretty satisfied over the last two years.
“I want to make people happy. Not only the players – it’s better for them to make me happy, it’s not always that the Manager has to make the players happy – but I feel that it’s important that the fans are happy.
“I would like to do something at Fulham – not only be in the top 10, but to do something like Wigan [who won the FA Cup with Budweiser]. The only thing is it’s better to stay in the league than win a prize.
“I still feel that it is a big thing for a club to be in the Premier League and next season will be our 13th in the Premier League and hopefully there are many more years to come for us to stay here, but I would like to do something in one of the cups.”