Tottenham Hotspur yesterday continued to struggle to contain the fallout over the club's managerial fiasco with the chairman, Daniel Levy, claiming, somewhat incredibly, that he is now "100 per cent" behind the man he considered sacking earlier this week.
However, Levy stopped short of endorsing Martin Jol's stewardship, saying that he would not dispose of the manager on the basis "of two or three results". But it was hardly a vote of confidence for the rest of the season in the beleaguered 51-year-old Dutchman, who knows that he needs results to improve dramatically if he is to remain in his post.
Jol will speak today ahead of Spurs' league meeting with Manchester United on Sunday. Defeat then, followed by poor results against Fulham and Arsenal, his team's next two opponents, will again ratchet up the pressure on him and make his position untenable. It may be the timing of today's press conference that has dictated Levy's statement.
Spurs held discussions last Friday with the Seville coach, Juande Ramos, who said he had received a "dizzying" offer, but they eventually stopped short of formally offering him the job. They have also since ditched a shortlist of replacements which was thought to include Blackburn's Mark Hughes and Portsmouth's Harry Redknapp. Spurs were keen yesterday to rebut reports that they had approached the former Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello, although it seems his representatives have been in contact with club officials.
There has been severe pressure on Spurs from supporters disgusted with the treatment of Jol, who has two years left on his contract and has led the club to two fifth-placed finishes in the league. Levy is now working hard to try to repair the damage caused in the last few days.
In a statement on the club's website, he said: "Martin has my 100 per cent support and I'd like the fans to take the last few days in the context of what we think has been significant progress over six years. We both want success."
Levy also sought to clarify what he meant by saying that the club wants Champions League football. He said: "What he has said and what I have said is that we need to aim to be in the top four. I very much hope that we will be there and he believes he has got the squad, but obviously there are no guarantees."