Martin Jol reserved special praise for Andy Johnson’s finishing prowess after the striker’s brace secured a 2-0 win for Fulham in Odense tonight.
The 30 year-old started the Europa League tie as Fulham’s lone striker after Bobby Zamora and Moussa Dembele were left behind in London to recover from their illness and Orlando Sa was only fit enough to start on the bench. Johnson grabbed his opportunity to impress, scoring his fifth and sixth goals of the season, to help Fulham end a nine-match winless streak. Jol was delighted with Johnson’s sharpness in front of goal:
If you’re 1-0 up you’re not really nervous, but 1-0 is 1-0. They could have scored five minutes before the end, so it’s always good to have someone like Andy who scores a second goal and then the pressure is off.
Sometimes you need to be given opportunities. But then the second goal wasn’t even an opportunity, it was unbelievable. The ball was sky high and his first touch was perfect. Maybe he didn’t think about it, but that’s probably why it was an amazing goal.
Jol was delighted with the three points but felt Fulham had been steadily improving in recent weeks.
I don’t think there will be another match in the past where we would have created more chances than at West Brom. We had 60% possession in the first-half there, so it’s only a matter of putting those chances in the net. What Andy did in the first-half for example – out of nothing – that is a good striker.
The Fulham manager remains undecided on whether Johnson will lead the line against QPR on Sunday, although the former England international’s performance couldn’t have harmed his chances.
I’ll have to make a decision on that. Bobby Zamora scored against Man City, and he scored against Blackburn as well. Against Man City he set up the second goal too, so it’s always a matter of making a decision. But I’m 100% certain that if I do start Andy he won’t let anybody down, because he’s a true professional. He always plays with his heart, and I don’t think you can say that with all the professionals in football.
Jol was critical of some of Fulham’s wastefulness in front of goal – thinking they should have had a greater half-time cushion cushion than Johnson’s speculative 36th minute strike.
We didn’t do particularly well in the first-half. We created five or six chances, but they had four chances as well. So we were caught between thoughts. Their two strikers were too high up, we couldn’t screen, they played too wingers so we couldn’t press in the midfield and then they started to play around us at times. So we changed that and then they had the same problem as we had.
But we know we are a good defensive side. We just need to take our opportunities better. There were some situations when we caught them on the break, four against three, and still lost the ball ourselves, so there are a lot of things to work on.