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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Jol hails match-winner Bent

Martin Jol was full of praise for goalscorer Darren Bent after he secured a much-needed 1-0 win over Stoke at Craven Cottage.

Last Updated: 06/10/13 at 10:31 Post Comment

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Bent's late strike sealed the points for Fulham after they spent much of the game second best against an impressive Stoke, who were left aggrieved by a couple of ignored penalty appeals.

Jol hailed the morale-boosting victory, however, and insists that the three points are much more important than the performance.

"The three points is exactly what we needed, so that is fantastic," Jol told Sky Sports.

"Especially after a game like this, you can't say we played fantastic.

"I thought they were the better team, but on the other hand we could have scored one or two.

"They put a lot of pressure on us but we soaked it up. You don't want that, you want to control a game and take the initiative.

"We showed a great mentality and that's why we got the three points."

The Dutchman was quick to admit that his side were fortunate to claim the victory, but praised his side's work-rate in securing the win.

"In hindsight, they had three or four good chances. Stoke have good delivery, and we will work on that because ours is not great.

"We worked ever so hard and we needed that win."

The lacklustre performance cannot be ignored however, and Jol says that problems could continue at Fulham unless they improve.

"If you don't score, especially at home, you'll end up with a problem. At some stages in that second half it felt as though they were the home team."

A 1-0 victory over Sunderland on the opening day represented Fulham's only other league win this season, but Bent was quick to take his chance off the bench for the home side, a point that Jol was not amiss to bring up.

"I'm very happy that Darren Bent is here. We talked about it, when he came to Fulham he wanted to play. Sometimes you have to build a game up like we did today though.

"No, everyone follows him. He always scores goals. I started him and Berbatov last week but we need to work on that.

"Today I decided to start with three midfield players."

Bent replaced Dimitar Berbatov midway through the second half, with the Bulgarian hobbling off after a late challenge from Glenn Whelan. Jol was uncertain about the striker's possible injury, but was thankful for the match-turning moment.

"I'm not sure. He's a fit bloke. On the other hand he had a kick and came off. In the end it helped us as his mate came on (Bent) and scored the goal."

Stoke's main grievances over the loss lie in two rejected penalty appeals, both of which seemed plausible. Fulham did have their own shouts during the game though, as Jol said in defence of his side.

"You have to be fair. I think we had the same. If you look at the game you will see the situation where we have one or two as well.

"Maybe they could have had a penalty, but on the other hand we should have had one."

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