Jol satisfied after stalemate
Fulham boss Martin Jol admitted he was disappointed not to beat RNK Split on Thursday but refuted suggestions that his players lacked effort. The Cottagers endured a frustrating night in Croatia as they struggled to a goalless draw in the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie. After victories over Faroese minnows NSI Runavik and Northern Irish part-timers Crusaders, Fulham had been expected to secure another win at Dugopolje's Stadion Hrvatski Vitezovi. However, Split proved dogged opponents throughout and Jol claimed a draw was a good result in the circumstances. "I am satisfied with the result," said the Dutchman after the match. "They played with three at the back and two wing-backs, which made it difficult to pressurise them. "At the end of the day, we drew 0-0 away from home against a good side. "I'm not happy with the result, but satisfied. "There certainly was not a lack of effort from my players." Despite naming a strong-looking side, Jol's team struggled to break down the resilient Croatian outfit - to the disappointment of 86 travelling fans. Fulham were guilty of some poor passing and Split regularly found space down the flanks. "They changed the formation, with three at the back," added Jol. "Normally we put more pressure on the centre-backs but we had to drop off, which I don't like to do. "But they had only three or four good chances, so that is the only thing we have to work on. "We didn't do enough with the ball in their half and we have to do better." Split manager Ivan Katalinic received a round of applause from the assembled journalists as he entered the post-match press conference and admitted it was a "surprise result". The Reds proved the more dangerous force and had two gilt-edged chances to score, with Ante Erceg fluffing a one-on-one opportunity in the sixth minute before substitute Duje Cop missed an equally inviting chance in the dying minutes of the game. Jol was impressed with the opponents, but backed his side to progress if they raise their game at Craven Cottage. "I expect we will have more initiative in the second leg and we have to play better to score goals in their half," he said. Fulham are likely to have United States international Clint Dempsey available for next week's clash, while Mousa Dembele could feature after a knee injury.
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