Jol: Cottage foundations strong

The 55-year-old former Tottenham boss has agreed an initial

two-year contract with the option of a further 12 months and

replaces Mark Hughes, who resigned last Thursday after just one

season at the helm. Jol – whose hopes of taking charge of Fulham

following Roy Hodgson’s departure a year ago were blocked by Ajax –

will have little time to settle into life at Craven Cottage as the

west London club face the first of as many as eight Europa League

qualifiers on June 30, after being awarded a place via the UEFA

Fair Play standings. The Dutchman, though, is ready to meet the

challenge head on. He told Fulham’s official website: “It would be

ridiculous to say that I am not happy with being in the Europa

League. “Let’s not forget, though, that can hinder you in the

season, the last time Fulham were in the Europa League they were

12th in the table – but it is my hope that we can build a squad

that is strong enough to compete in all of these competitions. “We

have got over 30 players, we’ll start with the younger pros as well

– we’ve got a big group. “Not everybody will be back, but hopefully

most of the people will be back and there won’t be a lot of

difference to playing a game after six days of training or three

days of training. “It is a bit early, 30th June, so we have to work

around it with good planning.” Jol feels he has some unfinished

business in the Premier League. “I could have gone to other

counties, but I was waiting for the opportunity to come back to

England,” he said. Fulham had been linked with a £10million

move for Espanyol striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo. Jol, though, could

face a battle to keep forward Clint Dempsey, with the American

suggesting he was now eager for a taste of Champions League

football, while out-of-contract midfielder Zoltan Gera has

indicated he would be open to a return to former club West Brom.