Football

Jol ready to fight on all fronts

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Martin Jol intends to quickly build a Fulham squad capable of sustaining a successful European and Barclays Premier League campaign.

The 55-year-old former Tottenham boss - whose hopes of taking charge of Fulham following Roy Hodgson's departure a year ago were blocked by Ajax - has agreed an initial two-year contract with the option of a further 12 months and replaces Mark Hughes, who resigned last Thursday after just one season at the helm.

Jol will have little time to settle into life at Craven Cottage as the west London club face the first of as many as eight Europa League qualifiers on June 30, after being awarded a place via the UEFA Fair Play standings. He told www.fulhamfc.com: "It would be ridiculous to say that I am not happy with being in the Europa League."

He added: "Let's not forget, though, that can hinder you in the season, the last time Fulham were in the Europa League they were 12th in the table - but it is my hope that we can build a squad that is strong enough to compete in all of these competitions.

"We have got over 30 players, we'll start with the younger pros as well - we've got a big group. Not everybody will be back, but hopefully most of the people will be back and there won't be a lot of difference to playing a game after six days of training or three days of training. It is a bit early, 30th June, so we have to work around it with good planning."

Jol feels he has some unfinished business in the Premier League. "I could have gone to other counties, but I was waiting for the opportunity to come back to England," he said.

Fulham had been linked with a £10million move for Espanyol striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo.

Jol, though, could face a battle to keep forward Clint Dempsey, with the American suggesting he was now eager for a taste of Champions League football, while out-of-contract midfielder Zoltan Gera has indicated he would be open to a return to former club West Brom.

Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed would appear ready to back his new manager. "I would like to welcome Martin Jol to Fulham. He understands my vision for the club, and believes in what we are striving to achieve here," Al Fayed said. "I know that he will dedicate himself to helping us move forward, and is with us for the long term, to help us build and progress.

"We have enjoyed three incredibly successful years, and my hopes and dreams for this club are for that journey to continue. I know that with his wealth of experience and success, Martin is the right man to help us do this."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Europa League
Tottenham Hotspur
West Bromwich Albion
European News
Fulham
Football
Mark Hughes
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Zoltan Gera
Mark Hughes
Clint Dempsey
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