Veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has backed Fulham’s decision to swoop for Dutch manager Martin Jol.Fulham were left without a head coach for the second time in two seasons when Welshman Mark Hughes, who took over from Roy Hodgson in July 2010, walked out on earlier this month.
While it took the Fulham hierarchy until late in last year’s off-season to secure Hughes’ services, they have wasted little time in moving for Jol, who signed a two-year deal on Tuesday.
“I think the club was very conscious of the position we were in last season when two weeks before the first game we still didn’t have a new manager,” Schwarzer told Australian publication the Sydney Morning Herald.
”It was well documented last season they were after Martin Jol and this time they’ve got him.”
“It’s definitely a positive move to have it all sorted out now.”
Fulham gained a berth in next season’s Europa League courtesy of their excellent fair play record throughout the domestic campaign.
But the club’s inclusion in the competition increased the urgency to secure a successor for Hughes, with their first match of the new season due ahead of schedule.
“Our pre-season starts on June 23 because we’re in the Europa League, so it was vital that we moved quickly on a manager and now he can start planning for the season ahead,” Schwarzer said.
”He’s a very well-respected and successful manager.”
”His last job was at Ajax Amsterdam, prior to that he was at Hamburg and before that he was at Tottenham. They’re some very big clubs he’s been involved in.”
“The Dutch are renowned for their coaching ability and I’ve been coached by a few Dutch(men) over the years and they’re all technically very strong. I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Hughes guided Fulham to eighth in the English Premier League this season, while Jol has previously steered Tottenham as high as fifth.
But Schwarzer cautioned against expecting an instant improvement in the team’s fortunes under their new coach.
”It might be only two-three positions up the table but that’s a huge ask to get into the top six,” he said.
“Look at the calibre of teams who just scraped in – Tottenham and Liverpool – plus those who want to get there, like Aston Villa, and others, and you realise how hard it is.”