We're still strong, insists Jol

19 October 2011 07:36
Martin Jol is upbeat about Fulham's chances against Wisla Krakow despite being without a handful of key players for the Europa League tie.[LNB] The Cottagers face the Polish champions without some key players, including Danny Murphy, Clint Dempsey and Bobby Zamora.[LNB]The latter pair have been rested ahead of Sunday's Premier League match against Everton, while skipper Murphy misses out with a knee injury.[LNB]Despite the big-name absentees, Jol remains confident of victory at the Stadion Miejski and backed his squad players to rise to the occasion.[LNB]"Danny took a knock to his knee, which was pretty painful but hopefully he will be fit for selection on Sunday," the Dutchman said.[LNB]"I spoke to the medical staff and we decided not to take a risk.[LNB]"Dempsey was left in London and Bobby was the same as I want him for Sunday rather than risking him tomorrow because we have got Andrew Johnson.[LNB]"[Mousa] Dembele is with us even though he had a little problem with his ankle and we have Orlando Sa, who can also play in attack.[LNB]"We took a few younger players instead [rather than risking them] like Kerim Frei, Alex Smith and Marcel Gecov.[LNB]"That said, I do not have any concerns before the match.[LNB]"We have played with different teams before and have 22 good players, as well as a few younger players.[LNB]"Overall, we still have a very strong team."[LNB]Fulham remain undefeated in Group K but progression for Wisla already looks unlikely, having lost their opening two matches and conceded seven goals in the process.[LNB]The poor performances means little more than 15,000 are expected at Thursday's match - less than half the capacity of the Stadion Miejski.[LNB]Wisla's defeats have seen fans and pundits alike turn on a supposedly slow and disorganised defence, which Jol believes makes this the kind of game in which a player of Johnson's pace could flourish.[LNB]"If he starts I think he can do well," he said. "He has scored I think six goals in Europe and then against QPR, where he scored a hat-trick.[LNB]"He is on fire and I think the only decision we have to make is whether we play him or somebody else."[LNB]Johnson started Saturday's Premier League clash at Stoke, where late goals from Jon Walters and Rory Delap condemned Fulham to a 2-0 defeat.[LNB]"Stoke was of course very disappointing because we were doing okay for 80 minutes and then their strength showed," Jol said.[LNB]"We were pretty disappointed after that but I don't think it has anything to do with this game.[LNB]"This game is important in another way, another perspective and we want to do well in the group. We want to do well in Europe.[LNB]"You cannot compare the two competitions but it is always good to have a win under your belt so I would say it is important for the confidence."[LNB]Fulham midfielder Dickson Etuhu echoed his manager's sentiments, adding: "Obviously we are expecting a tough game tomorrow.[LNB]"Every time you play in Europe, especially away from home, you expect a difficult game.[LNB]"I've heard a lot about this club and how tough it is to play at their ground, how amazing the atmosphere is.[LNB]"We're looking forward to it and it is an experience for all of us."

Source: Team_Talk