Martin Jol claims he is now glad Pavel Pogrebnyak quit Fulham.

The big Russian striker was an instant hit during a four-month loan spell at Fulham last season before he joined Reading.

Pogrebnyak, 28, will line up against his old boss for the first time tomorrow since his shock switch.

But Jol reckons he had the last laugh after signing Dimitar Berbatov from Manchester United, Croat Mladen Petric and Wigan’s Hugo Rodallega as his replacements.

“I was bothered at the time but not any more,” said Jol. “Of course I liked Pavel very much and he liked the club as well.

“But he made a decision. They made a very good offer to him and he decided to go there.

“It was not an easy decision for him. I spoke to him a couple of times, but he made that choice.

“At that time I was very disappointed but if Pavel had stayed maybe Berbatov would not have been here.

“We got Rodallega, Petric and Berbatov and I’m absolutely pleased with those three up front. We look better than at any time over the last decade.

“Now they are all here, I couldn’t ask for more.”

Jol added: “I don’t know the make-up of Pavel’s contract, but what I do know is that they have a Russian owner and he has a relationship with him.

“There are several reasons why a player decides to go to another club and one of the first was the Russian owner.”