x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Attack is Fulham's goal against Manchester City

Martin Jol, the Fulham manager, has decided that the best way to combat free-scoring City is to fight fire with fire.

Martin Jol has to revive the confidence in his side after losing two games at Craven Cottage.
Martin Jol has to revive the confidence in his side after losing two games at Craven Cottage.

Manchester City have started the season in fifth gear, scoring 15 goals in their four league games, and Martin Jol, the Fulham manager, has decided that the best way to combat them is to fight fire with fire - and attack.

The two teams meet today at Craven Cottage, and while Roberto Mancini's team have made a 100 per cent start to the campaign, Fulham have struggled.

Jol's side have only two points after four matches, and he conceded last week that his players need to start turning draws into wins. Fulham have drawn three of their past four home games.

"I plan for us to attack" today," Jol said, adding that City "play attacking football but still with two defensive midfielders and four players at the back.

"They don't take a lot of initiative but they've got four quality players that try to get behind your midfield.

"They have a lot of quality. We have to come up with something to stop that and still get goals."

The Dutchman conceded that failing to win at home against Aston Villa and Blackburn left his team in a hard spot. "If we would have won the first two home games we would have six points and this game would be a different matter.

"Now you have to gain your own spirit, your own confidence for the game."

After their strong start to the season, it is hard to find many faults with City, but Mancini will not let his team stand still. The Italian wants good performances to cultivate a winning mentality at the club, akin to Europe's best sides.

After four wins to start the league season, City were held to a draw by Napoli on their Champions League debut in midweek and Mancini feels they still have some way to go to match the established elite.

"I want our team to have a strong mentality like [Manchester] United, like Milan or like Barca.

"All these teams that won the Champions League or the championship of their country, I think we need to have this mentality."

Additionally, Mancini said he would happily sacrifice style if it guaranteed victories. "We play always to win but we need to understand we can win without always playing well," he said.

"You can play fantastic football but if you don't score, in the Champions League, it is difficult because every game you meet a top team.

"If you concede or make a mistake it can be difficult. So, for me it is better maybe to not play very well but to score and have control of the game, like United did, like Milan."

The City manager expects Fulham, who drew with FC Twente in the Europa League on Thursday, to raise their game for today's encounter.

"Fulham is always a difficult game. Last year we won there but we played a fantastic game.

"I have seen their games and they are very dangerous.

"I watched Fulham against Blackburn on Sunday. It was a different game.

"When a team like Fulham or Blackburn play against a top team like us, United or Chelsea, they play better. They put in everything they have."

City will again be without the midfielders Nigel de Jong and James Milner.

De Jong could be out for another two weeks with a foot injury while Milner will miss a second game as a result of a clash of heads in last week's win over Wigan Athletic.

* Agencies

6pm, Abu Dhabi Sports 4