For the second time in a week, Fulham appeared to be out of a game against a Manchester side within minutes of the game’s opening. After David Silva’s first minute strike effectively settled matters against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last week, Fulham at least lasted two more minutes before collapsing at Old Trafford against Manchester United. The Cottagers gave away a penalty which Ryan Giggs scored with ease to put his side on his way to a 4-1 FA Cup victory, perhaps putting manager Martin Jol under pressure.
While Fulham were never likely to gain a positive result at Old Trafford, the rather gutless and inevitable manner of the defeat was one that has become all too familiar of late. Indeed, with seemingly no end to it in sight, questions must surely be asked now of Jol’s security as manager because at the moment, Fulham look like a side that is sliding towards relegation.
The team’s performances are arguably linked to the demeanour of the manager. The Dutchman, normally a man of such animation and passion for his side, both in and outside of matches, has of late looked like a man devoid of anything of the sort. Mistakes, conceded goals and defeats appear to be greeted with an air of acceptance, rather than the anger we would usually see from Jol. This was witnessed during the heady days of early October and November when the Cottagers were riding high in the top half of the Premier League table.
Such has been the downturn in Jol’s attitude of late that it is almost as if the 57-year-old had no hope himself of getting anything from the visits to Manchester’s top two and if that is the feelings of the manager, then the players themselves can hardly be expected to believe otherwise.
Frankly, Jol looks like a man who has lost his spark, a manager that was clearly affected by the departures of Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele and a man who at the moment does not seem to have the answers to the very severe problems that face this Fulham team.
Crucially, it looks as if Jol barely even wants to, with recent assertions to the club’s supporters that “they
Perhaps a new signing could be the spark needed to lift the spirits of the manager, let alone the club, much in the way Dimitar Berbatov’s arrival in late August briefly threatened to take Fulham to the next level. However, with time running out before the transfer window closes on Thursday, it remains to be seen whether the Cottagers have any tangible targets in mind.
If that is the case and Fulham fail to get a positive result at home to West Ham on Wednesday, then one would seriously begin to worry for both the club’s and an increasingly under-fire Martin Jol’s future prospects.
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