The Tottenham Hotspur chairman, Daniel Levy, had crisis talks with his manager, Martin Jol, yesterday over the Dutchman's future at the club. Jol's position at the club has been made fragile by his side's poor start to the campaign, but he has been in a difficult position since last season.
The 51-year-old has been told in no uncertain terms that he will have to turn the season around quickly – starting with Derby County on Saturday – or face the consequences. Jol has rescued his Tottenham career from the brink before but, one year on, he will be shown less patience by the board this time.
The Tottenham manager was under pressure in the second part of last season before the 4-0 win over Fulham in February put the club back on track. Having invested more than £40m on players over the summer, the club have started with two defeats and the gloom deepened yesterday when it emerged that striker Dimitar Berbatov is facing two weeks out with a groin injury.
Even Everton's manager, David Moyes, whose side beat Spurs 3-1 at White Hart Lane of Tuesday night, expressed alarm on Tuesday night that already questions were being raised over Jol's long-term future at the club. However, the hardening of attitude in the Tottenham hierarchy is not simply a result of the two defeats to Sunderland and Everton, it has been evident in some figures at the club since last season.
The position of the club's director of football, Damien Comolli, is not in question and he has impressed Tottenham's hierarchy with his attitude in the last two years. Should a decision be made to part company with Jol, any new manager would be obliged to work under Comolli.
Jol has clashed with the board in the recent past and was told to pick Berbatov for the FA Cup tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in March, having originally left the Bulgarian striker out of the team in order to rest him. The form of Berbatov has been one of the key areas of concern for Tottenham over the first two games of the season, not looking the same player who took the Premier League by storm last season.
Younes Kaboul, their new £7m centre-back, is out for four weeks. There were understood to be harsh words spoken after the last minute defeat to Sunderland, with the Bulgarian angry at his team-mates.