May 20 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Fulham manager Martin Jol has revealed that he originally intended to take Saturday’s goal hero Giorgos Karagounis off after just an hour against Blackpool.
The Greek midfielder kept the Cottagers in the FA Cup with a superb late volley at Craven Cottage to cancel out Ludovic Sylvestre’s opener for Blackpool and force a replay.
But the 35-year-old, who netted his first Fulham goal since joining the club in September, was only still on the field because Jol had already used up all three substitutions in a desperate bid to find an equaliser.
“He was in the team for the last three games and I told him maybe he’d play 60 minutes because he’d played the other games, but in the end I had to leave him on,” Jol explained.
“You need a bit of luck and you need a bit of quality and Giorgos gave us that. He’s a character, he’s a personality and he’s not only a legend in his country, he’s a warrior for us.
“He wants to win and he wants to play for the team. He scored out of nothing – if you look at YouTube he’s probably done it eight or nine times before and that’s what he’s capable of.”
Jol’s gamble also meant that Karagounis’ central midfield colleague, Steve Sidwell, had to play out the closing minutes with a hamstring strain as the Whites battled for a replay against their Championship opponents.
And the Fulham boss – who named an unchanged line-up from their 2-1 win at West Brom on New Year’s Day – conceded that his side will have to produce a much better performance to stay in the competition.
He added: “I think we had about 65 per cent possession and we should have finished this game earlier – there were bad crosses, bad final balls and they defended well.
“We had so much of the play in their box, it was only a matter of picking someone out to score, but we couldn’t get the ball in the net. If it’s not your day, you have to be happy with a replay.
“The movement wasn’t good enough and we have to do better next time - we have to play with a lot more urgency and sharpness up front. If we go there and do what we did at West Brom, it shouldn’t be a big problem.”