Belfast Telegraph

Jol sees quality in Villa

Fulham manager Martin Jol believes Saturday's opponents Aston Villa are too good to go down.

The Birmingham-based outfit have struggled this season under the tutorship of Alex McLeish and lie 15th in the table with 11 games remaining. Villa, though, have an eight-point cushion over the relegation zone and, while understanding fans' frustration, Jol believes they have too much quality to go down.

"They have got the same situation as a lot of other clubs where they rely on the players who can make a difference," he said. "Sunderland had the same, they had Darren Bent there who scored 24 goals and made the difference. He went and then you have a little problem. With Aston Villa, if you miss your best players you can have a little problem too."

He added: "I feel you have to rely on your best players and if they do the business you'll be fine, with the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor, Stephen Ireland coming into the team and Robbie Keane when he was there.

"I think Aston Villa have a very good squad and are too good to be in any trouble."

Fulham head into the match looking for a fourth successive Barclays Premier League victory.

That run includes a rare away victory at near neighbours QPR - only the Cottagers' second of the campaign - and Jol believes they can be confident of more success thanks to the addition of Pavel Pogrebnyak.

"I feel that we had confidence before last weekend's win over Wolves and go to Villa confident because we haven't lost seven games out of 13 away from home," he said. "It's not bad but you have to win games and we had nine draws, for example, five or six away from home so we were close. But you need players who can make the first goal.

"Pavel did that against Stoke at home, he did that against QPR and he did it against Wolves and that is what you need to win games.

"Liverpool were probably the better team against Arsenal last weekend, but Arsenal have Robin van Persie. He scored two goals from nothing and that wins you games, so that is what we needed as well."


From Belfast Telegraph