Did injuries save Martin Jol’s job for now?
Martin Jol is a man in trouble; it’s been much talked-about on the Superblog and elsewhere. There is a feeling that he is no more than a disastrous result away from losing his job as the Fulham manager.
November 5th, 2013
The wave of excitement that waved over the club when Jol was appointed as an obvious upgrade on Mark Hughes has been washed away by a string of frustrating appearances. Jol’s first season was promising as he led the club into the top half of the club while navigating a tricky run in the Europa League. However, the decline has been such that the Cottagers are now among the favourites to find themselves knee-deep in a relegation battle come April.
The once disciplined and rigid back-five have allowed opponents to basically score at will. Craven Cottage is no longer a stadium that the other sides in Premier League worry about going to. They are no longer in for a battle against a well-drilled, disciplined side, and instead can feel confident they’ll create enough chances to leave with all three points.
The Lilywhites are at the wrong end of the table and Shahid Khan is no doubt currently debating whether to stick or twist on his manager; especially with just two points between Fulham and the relegation zone and a stiff run of fixtures lined up before Christmas.
On Saturday, with just 22 minutes gone Jol could have been forgiven for assuming it was all over. Manchester United’s front four appeared to be in direct competition with their City counterparts as the two teams raced into 3-0 leads. Antonio Valencia, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney were on target as the Red Devils wrapped up victory within 30 minutes.
However, the onslaught was stalled by the introduction of three substitutes at half-time to cover injuries. David Moyes’ side lost their shape and rhythm. Safe in the knowledge that all three points were secured, Fulham were conversely able to out-score their visitors in the second half and allow the score line to remain respectable.
It could have been the end of the line for Jol. However, a stuttering performance in the second half from United may have helped keep the Dutchman in the job for a little longer. That means this weekend he leads his team to Liverpool to take on the on-form Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, hoping his team can get their act together.