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Former Spurs boss refuses to play the blame game

SoccerNews in Bundesliga, English Premier League 18 Oct 2008

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Former Tottenham manager Martin Jol insists no one’s to blame for the Premier League side’s worst start in almost a century under his successor, Juande Ramos.

Jol, whose new club Hamburg are top of the Bundesliga, was sacked by the Spurs hierarchy last October, despite guiding the team to two fifth-place finishes in the Premier League and the UEFA Cup quarter-finals.

The Dutchman was then replaced by Ramos, who had led Sevilla to two UEFA Cups, and he then guided Spurs to the League Cup.

However, this season has seen the tables turned – with Jol taking Hamburg to the top of the Bundesliga, while Spurs languish at the bottom of the Premier League with just two points.

Tottenham travel to Stoke on Sunday looking for their first league win of the season.

There have been suggestions both Spurs sporting director Damien Comolli and Ramos could find themselves going the same way as Jol, but the Dutchman has refused to point the finger at anyone for Spurs’ predicament.

Jol told BBC Radio 5 Live on Friday: “I don’t want to put blame on anybody. They try to do their best, and that is not easy in football.

“You need a lot of experience to manage to be at the top.

“I was fifth twice and they said ‘but if you are fifth twice, you have to be fourth or third.

“‘You can’t talk about top four’ they told me ‘and then be in 17th in the league’.

“But I played with (Younes) Kaboul, who never played in the Premier League; I had (Pascal) Chimbonda at left-back; Teemu Tainio had to play at right-back.

“That was totally different. You see the players they have now: (Vedrun) Corluka, (Jonathan) Woodgate.

“If we’d had Woodgate with (Michael) Dawson that would have been a different kettle of fish – but it wasn’t to be.

“We had to move on and we hope they can improve things, because everyone is waiting for it. They are the best fans in England.”

The 52-year-old admits he is benefiting from the support of his sporting director in Germany.

“They treat me very well over here,” Jol continued.

“They are happy with me – that’s important if you have bought.

“We have a sporting director as well, and he was delighted I came over and he tells everyone every day he is delighted I am here.

“That is what you need – that is a different situation than over there at Spurs.”

Jol nonetheless denies he had a poor relationship with Comolli, adding: “I respect everybody, so for me there was no problem.

“The only thing is there is just a different structure over there.

“So if you have four or five players from France and they are as good as Michael Carrick and people tell you they are, you have to believe them.

“Some were good; some weren’t good. But I will never blame someone else, because I am there as well – so you have to take part of the blame.”

Jol also refused to get involved in the Spurs crisis, adding: “I honestly have to say it is none of my business.

“It’s a year ago I left and I wasn’t happy to leave. But that is one those things that will happen in football, and I focus on my time here now.

“The only thing I didn’t like was the things he said after we left – because in England, it is not done to criticise the former manager.

“I thought maybe it will get better.

“Of course, they won the Carling Cup. But I think that was still the team we had with Ledley King, and everybody knows every time we had Ledley King we won games – and that is the big difference.

“They changed the team but they do it with good intentions.”

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