JOL QUIET ON POSSIBLE PLAYER EXITS

Martin Jol refused to speculate on Fulham players' future after their 2-1 victory over Sunderland.

Last Updated: 06/05/12 at 17:31 Post Comment

Dempsey scored what would be Fulham's winner

Dempsey scored what would be Fulham's winner

Fulham manager Martin Jol preferred to praise his improving side rather than speculate about his players' future after Saturday's defeat of Sunderland.

The west Londoners secured their fifth win in seven games as goals from Clint Dempsey and Mousa Dembele helped the hosts to a 2-1 victory at Craven Cottage.

Both players have been heavily linked with summer moves away from the Whites, while the likes of Danny Murphy and Andrew Johnson have yet to extend their deals past the summer.

Jol was keen not to speculate about any departures, though, preferring instead to focus on what he believes is an exciting future.

"If you don't mind, I don't want to think about that kind of negativity," the Dutchman said when asked if players would be leaving this summer.

"I want to enjoy today and I enjoyed it before the match, which is probably the first time this season because there was not a lot to lose.

"But, on the other hand, we thought if we would get a win under our belt, we could end up above Liverpool.

"If we had ended up with one point, we were certain of ending above Stoke, Swansea and all the other teams so it is great to have a win and we will be in top 10, which was our main target.

"I was very pleased with the way we played and the only thing is that excitement [of having to hold on] until the last second is not what you want.

"If you played the way we played, you should have scored three or four goals and put it to bed and finish it off.

"That is not what we did but we are improving, we are getting better, we try to play our football and especially in the first half you saw we were the better team because of our style.

"If all the players will be here, we will only get better."

Saturday's result means Jol will return to former club Tottenham next weekend knowing the Cottagers lie one point shy of their previous record, secured under Roy Hodgson in the 2008/09 season.

A record-equalling seventh-place finish is also within grasp but Jol will be happy even if they fall short.

"It will be my first game back at White Hart Lane and it will be nice [to get the record]," he said.

"There is not a lot of pressure on us and it would be nice to get three points.

"I would like Spurs to play in the Champions League, of course, but, on the other hand, if we can get three points that would be good.

"I am satisfied with what we have achieved and this is probably our best season ever when combining with European football.

"Of course, they were higher in the league before but then they didn't have to play all these games in Europe.

"We played almost 40 games before Christmas and to still be on 52 points is a good achievement."

Sunderland counterpart Martin O'Neill struck a frustrated figure in the post-match press conference.

The Black Cats are without a win in seven league matches after Saturday's loss, which was made especially irritating after Dembele scored Fulham's winner straight after Phil Bardsley had pulled them level.

"I think that obviously we missed some gilt-edged chances and eventually that proved the difference in the game," O'Neill said.

"Overall it was an encouraging performance by us and in possession I thought we passed the ball pretty well today so to concede just after we scored a great equaliser was particularly galling.

"We went to sleep after the equaliser and maybe we were distracted by the fact that [Stephane] Sessegnon had to change his footwear at that time.

"I would say within 10 seconds of kick-off they have made it 2-1 so it just nullifies our goal immediately and sets you on the back foot.

"We should have done better. We should have dealt with it better, but overall we are learning.

"It was Ji Dong-won's first start under me. I knew he would get pretty tired in the last half an hour but I thought there were some very encouraging signs."

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