Fulham manager Martin Jol admits two back-to-back London derbies could determine his future as Fulham manager.
Fulham play West Ham on Saturday and Tottenham on Wednesday following a desperate run of five defeats in a row which have left them occupying a relegation position in the Barclays Premier League.
The Fulham faithful have begun to vent their anger, chanting ‘Jol out’ during and after matches and players such as Costa Rican winger Bryan Ruiz have borne the brunt of some lacerating criticism.
Jol, whose side have just 10 points from 12 matches, remains confident of escaping his predicament, but said: “You don’t have to talk to an owner to be aware of the fact that you need points to get back to a winning culture, to a little bit of stability.
“You can lose once or twice but you can’t lose four or five times on the trot. That will put you in a bad position.
“One win will get us back among others and take the pressure off and then hopefully we could have a good run like last year.”
Asked if he believed his position as manager was safe, Jol added: “If we win, yeah. If we don’t, I don’t know. It is always difficult.
“If I was on the Board or an owner I would be worrying.
“We need wins. Every game is almost a must-win game. That is what I have told everyone.
“If you are at a club like Fulham or Stoke or Swansea you always get times when things could go wrong and you have to try to get back to winning ways.”
Two weeks ago Fulham appointed Rene Meulensteen, who had success with Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, to work with Jol as head coach.
It has cranked up the pressure even more on Jol, although the Fulham manager insists he welcomed the initiative.
“Sometimes you have to change something to get back to winning ways and I thought it was necessary to get someone like him and I think it has paid off in training,” Jol said.
“Players have responded to it and some have got a new lease of life.
“We are not a typical club with problems. There is a good atmosphere and spirit, a good rhythm too in training. I feel we are good enough to get higher up the league.”
The statistics, however, are worrying. Fulham have scored 11 goals but conceded a hefty 21 and have lost seven of their past 10 Premier League games, conceding 11 goals in their past four matches.
On Saturday at Upton Park they might well be boosted by the return from injury of central defender Brede Hangeland but striker Dimitar Berbatov is doubtful after feeling unwell.
Jol is anxious to promote a sense of unity to get the fans back on side against a struggling West Ham who are one place above Fulham in the league, courtesy of goal difference. “It’s not about me, it is about us,” said Jol.
“It’s a big week because if we could manage to win two games we would be fine.
“My message is you have to back the players. If you talk about Berbatov or Bryan Ruiz, they are different they are skilful players, but they are giving 100 per cent, believe me, even though they look a bit different.
“I feel it is trust and belief needed by the fans that they will do their best for the club. After the match it does not matter if they boo them off the pitch, or me, but during the game we need support.
“There is always pressure and you have to set your targets. We talk about targets with the players. Our target is to get enough points to be over 20 points after Christmas.”