There have been a couple of comments in the comments this morning about a Martin Jol interview in the Sunday Times. It’s not available online, but I’ve been down and grabbed the last copy from the Co-op and there are some interesting snippets.
He’s pretty relaxed about the very early start to Fulham’s season:
We’ll have to play after one week [of pre-season training] and a few of the guys are going to be coming back late. There are no warm-up games but even if we’re not at our peak, we can handle it. I had to play in the Champions League after one week [with Ajax in 2010-11 when key players were returning late from the World Cup], so I’ve done it before.
Jol’s enthusiastic about the task ahead, too:
Fulham is a happy club, players enjoy playing there. I feel we’ve a settled squad which has been together a long time. Fulham’s not a club where you arrive and need to sign six or seven players. If we sign players, it won’t just be to fill the squad, it’ll be adding those who can make a difference.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of his recruitment policy will be a desire to bring down the average age of the squad, which was bolstered by Roy Hodgson placing a premium on experience. Jonathan Northcroft, who wrote the piece, refers to the 20-25 age bracket but there are no distinct quotes on ages from Jol:
If you’ve got an older team and play in a lot of competitions, you need some younger players. You saw Birmingham. If you have other obligations [apart from the Premier League], you can suffer.
We have good young players in the reserves. I’m happy we’ve got Matthew Briggs, a younger who’s already experienced, and Moussa Dembele. He’s a great talent.
Jol also expanded on his targets and the type of football he wants to bring to Craven Cottage:
We want to be in mid-table [in contrast to Fulham’s slow start to last season], then push on. We must maybe attack opponents more and score more goals but have the same stability at the pack as the past few seasons. The difference between eighth and 14th can be two points. You need players who can make a difference but I feel we have some.