Jol points to progress
By Simon Fudge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Martin Jol says Tottenham Hotspur's progress has contributed to their success.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Martin Jol says the rapid progress of his side has contributed to their success so far this season.
The Dutchman has guided the North Londoners to the upper echelons of the Premiership table this term, with Spurs currently occupying the last UEFA Champions League qualification spot.
Jol pointed to some of the new additions he added last summer as a key factor in Spurs' successful league campaign, claiming the new faces have made his side stronger than last season.
"I think our biggest strength has been that we've had five or six players in the line-up different from last year," Jol said in an interview to the League Managers' Association's official website.
"Normally in a club, that would be a big setback because if you have to fit in five or six new players, it can always be a problem.
"The strange thing was with [Teemu] Tainio, [Paul] Stalteri, [Michael] Dawson, [Edgar] Davids and [Jermaine] Jenas, it looked as if they played for us for years and that was probably the biggest compliment you can make them because normally it takes four or six months (to settle in) and it didn't, so that was very surprising.
"The other thing is every time we have to change the team, then we look a bit different.
"That is why I always say we are still not at 100 percent because if Ledley King, for example, is not playing against Leicester, West Bromwich Albion or Newcastle, you still feel that we are a bit vulnerable sometimes.
"If you look at all the statistics - the clean sheets, conceding goals, scoring goals, then yes we are improving all the time. I think the team spirit has been our biggest strength."
Jol stated that the backbone of his side has been the young British talent he has at his disposal at White Hart Lane.
"If you look at our record, you have the top three or four, then I think we will be the most consistent side maybe with Bolton," he added.
"I've talked about transition at the start of this season, but we had a big transition when I started as manager because my whole midfield was different.
"The only thing that always stayed there was my spine - Paul Robinson, Ledley King, Michael Carrick, Robbie Keane and Jermaine Defoe. The rest changed.
"The most important thing in our philosophy is our spine and the spine is British."
Jol gave praise to his goalkeeper Paul Robinson, claiming the England number one is the best custodian in the country.
"He's big, he's strong, he's got confidence which is maybe the biggest quality of a goalkeeper, but his reflexes for a big goalkeeper are unbelievable," Jol said.
"I think there's not one keeper in England that can play as well as he can.
"He has all the qualities to be a very good goalkeeper but he's still young - normally a tremendous goalkeeper will be 28, 29 or even older and he was 24 when he started here.
"He's level-headed, even after very good games, he works hard and he comes in and he wants to train."
Jol stressed he will keep to his policy of looking for English talent, claiming he is unlikely to look for players at this summer's World Cup.
"To be honest, I don't believe in a buying policy to get quality players in because all the teams have done that for the last five to ten years and it didn't always come off," he said.
"It's a big risk and I don't want to take risks. For me, it's more of a gamble to go abroad.
"It's not easy to (buy abroad) because it's a different culture, a different lifestyle - it's a different sort of football.
"So I would always like to have an English base (of players) and if English players are doing well, you can make a go of English players."