Fulham players concerned with manager's extremist approach, writes Paul Watson...
While Fulham boss Martin Jol has many ideas about how his side can overcome their current slump, his players are growing frustrated that, without exception, they involve implausible changes to the rules of association football or violent criminal acts.
The pressure is growing on Fulham’s bedraggled, avuncular manager after a 4-0 defeat to Liverpool before the international break.
While critics have suggested that Jol is short of ideas for turning things around at Craven Cottage, his players have revealed that it is the feasibility and morality of the manager’s solutions that worries them.
“I have a lot of respect for the gaffer but I’m just not comfortable with his advice,” defender Philippe Senderos told FFT.
“He keeps telling me to pick up the ball, tuck it under my armpit and run with it. If I start to object he just says that I’m a big guy so nobody’s going to stop me. I’m not so sure though – I’m pretty sure the 1863 Sheffield Rules outlawed that.”
Jol’s revolutionary tactical ideas have also been called into question by midfielder Steve Sidwell.
“At training last week the gaffman [the gaffer] has suddenly stopped us and said he’s got this idea – what if we put the whole squad out there instead of just 11?” the ineffectual midfielder recalled.
“Some of the older heads pointed out that, generally, 11 is the most you can get away with. But Jol’s just stood there adding magnets to his tactics board until there’s 28 of us on the field and then sat back with a satisfied smile, mumbling self-congratulatory statements in Dutch.”
Just before Fulham’s trouncing at Liverpool, Jol’s suggestions took a slightly more sinister turn.
“He sat us all down, dimmed the lights and then asked us if, in certain extreme circumstances, we could imagine ever killing a man,” Scott Parker revealed.
“The majority of us said no, in honesty, we couldn’t. Jol told us it was a shame, as the extreme circumstance he had in mind was on the eve of a game against a superior Premier League side.
“Time and again one of us would tell him it was out of the question but he kept winking and saying ‘I completely understand’ in this odd, jovial tone. In the end I think Jimmy [Patjim Kasami]’s picked off Jose Enrique with a poisoned dart, but nobody really noticed. I think he was aiming for Luis Suarez.”