Fulham preview: Jol needs lift for Europa League clash
Published 23:00 29/06/11 By Darren Lewis
Fulham's road to the Europa League Final begins without Martin Jol’s car after the Dutchman had it towed away and almost lost his belongings this week.
The West Londoners' new chief began pre-season with his new troops last week and has his first match in charge at Craven Cottage tonight.
Rather than a low-key friendly, it's a Europa League first round first leg encounter with NSI (it stands for Nes Soknar Itrottarfelag) from Runavik in the Faroe Islands, courtesy of Fulham's high placing in last season's Fair Play standings.
Jol, meanwhile, is still smarting at being given duff advice by the man he has appointed Fulham’s new goalkeeping coach, Hans Segers.
He said: “We were in an unbelievably nice hotel in Wimbledon. The only problem was when they towed the car away.
“I hadn’t paid the money for the parking spot. So they towed it and I had to go to the police.
“The car was in a park with no security and I could have lost all my gear.
“It was not even my car! It was a lease car. A nice Seat.
“It was Hans Segers who said that [parking] was no problem. He said he’d lived there for 23 years.
“All my stuff was in it. Everything, passports.
"In Holland, they would probably take it and put it in a private parking station with security. But there was nothing there in this park (no security).
“It was only £55, so it was no problem. I think you can’t charge any more, with no security. Otherwise in Holland you’d pay probably £300.
“So maybe it was only £55 because there was no security.”
Jol is aiming to emulate a Roy Hodgson-managed Fulham side’s run to the 2010 Europa League Final, in which they were beaten by Spanish side Atletico Madrid.
Carlos Salcido and Clint Dempsey are the only players unavailable to Mark Hughes’ successor, as they recently played for Mexico and the US respectively in the Concacaf Gold Cup.
Jol also insisted none of his players are complaining about Fulham’s early return to competitive football.
"They are a fine bunch of lads. They work hard every day with a smile on their face," he said. “This is a happy club and we would like to keep it that way.
“If you have a big squad, it is a nice competition to play in. If you have a small squad, it can be a problem.
“In the past, Fulham had a problem when they went to Europe - they were 12th in the league when before they were seventh. Last year, they didn’t play in Europe and they were eighth.
"But you play football to be in Europe and test yourself and your players at that level. So I’m always happy to be playing. Roy and Mark [Hughes] did a fantastic job and it will be difficult to do better.”
Jol revealed he has had tonight’s opponents watched and that Fulham would not be taking them lightly.
"We have a few scouts even in the Faroe Islands," he said. "They watched a couple of matches. There was some good footage.
“The analyst said they are a hard team to beat, but I hope it will be a normal side from the Faroe Islands in terms of quality.
“I hope there will be no problem. You can’t take it lightly because it is a European game.”