Norwich City did not make it easy for us, admits Fulham boss Martin Jol
PUBLISHED: 11:06 02 April 2012
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Fulham boss Martin Jol was a relieved man after his side survived a late rally by the Canaries to record their first win in four Premier League games.
The Cottagers appeared to be cruising to victory with two goals in the first 13 minutes from Clint Dempsey and Damien Duff but were disrupted by striker Pavel Pogrebnyak’s injury and City’s change of formation at half-time.
Substitute Aaron Wilbraham’s 77th-minute goal made it a nervous finish for Fulham.
“I have to say I had mixed feelings because in the first half we were well prepared for them and we started off well,” said Jol.
“They change their system all the time and they do that with a purpose.
“It was not easy but I thought we used the right tactics in the first half. There was a good balance between defensive and offensive play.
“As a matter of fact, we played against their reserves on Tuesday and we beat them 5-1 and they played in a similar way.
“In the second half they changed their formation and they almost forced us to double up on the flanks, to go back and we couldn’t get out of it.
“Pavel was not there, Andy Johnson of course was injured so we needed a bit of pace and penetration.
“That was probably the reason we could not get out of it but I have to say if you have to defend, you have to defend.
“I couldn’t change that in this game so I was very pleased in the end, although we didn’t play in our style in the second half.”
Pogrebnyak twisted his ankle and was replaced by Swedish debutant Alex Kacaniklic, who went close to making it 3-0 when he struck the bar early in the second half.
“Pavel made a tackle and he hurt himself on the touchline,” he said. “So I had to make a decision in putting Dempsey up front and gave Alex his debut.
“I think he did well but it would have helped if he had scored the third one.”
Jol admitted the second half was difficult when he said: “We couldn’t hold the ball. Even when we were in their half, five or six times we should have kept it and we gave it away and we had to go back again.
“If you play in your own box all the time you give the opposition more chances to create and that is why we want to play in the other half.”