Fulham V Norwich at Craven Cottage - Match Preview
Updated Friday, 30th March 2012
Jol moves on from United controversy
Manager Martin Jol has put Fulham's narrow and controversial defeat to Manchester United out of his mind, and has urged his players to do the same ahead of their clash with Norwich.
Fulham were beaten 1-0 at Old Trafford on Monday, but could have taken a point had they not have been denied a clear penalty in the closing stages.
The fallout from referee Michael Oliver's decision has continued all week but Jol is looking to move on, despite believing his side were robbed of what would have been a credible draw.
When asked about the incident, he said: "I've heard about it (wrong decisions) over the last two decades in England so that is a discussion you will get with any situation which is going against your team, and this was the situation for me because it was a clear-cut penalty.
"Everybody saw the occasion. I told the referee what I thought about it and expressed my opinion so for us it's probably the most important thing that we give a response [on Saturday], that is the only thing which matters to me.
"So for me it's not important what other people say about it.
"It's more important that we played that game, we had that situation and I feel that in hindsight we should have ended up with a draw there."
Wayne Rooney's first-half goal condemned the Cottagers to their third successive Premier League defeat, which disappointed Jol who believed they had started to put a run together in the preceding games.
"We thought we'd turn things around against Swansea but we didn't and we had a difficult game away against Manchester United so after having three wins on the trot, we had three defeats and that's not what you want," he added.
"We want to get out of this situation because there were a lot of clubs winning their games last weekend, putting them on 39 or 40 points and that is exactly what we wanted so hopefully we don't have to wait too long to achieve that."
Fulham face a stern test from a Norwich team who have surprised everyone with their form this season and currently sit two places above Jol's side in the table.
Jol has been impressed by last season's Championship runners-up.
"I think Norwich have done more than pretty well, they've been fantastic," he said.
Russia international Pavel Pogrebnyak is likely to lead Fulham's forward line against Norwich and Jol is hoping to sign the Stuttgart loanee on a long-term basis in the summer.
Paul Lambert maintains there will be no chance of Norwich switching off as they close in on Barclays Premier League survival.
The Canaries head to Fulham having chalked up 39 points following last weekend's 2-1 home win over struggling Wolves.
A fifth away victory of what has been an impressive return to the top flight would all but cement another campaign among the elite for the Norfolk club.
However, until statistics prove otherwise, Lambert will not rest easy, despite his side sitting comfortably in 11th place with eight matches left.
"I have said before that mathematically, it is not finished," the Norwich manager told a press conference.
"We have given ourselves a good lead, we are playing well. It depends on other results as well.
"I know it might be boring nonsense, but that is the way I perceive it.
"You just don't know. I have been in football long enough to know that it is the most unpredictable game in sport."
Lambert added: "It is the same it has always been - no-one gets carried away or too down when things don't go our way so I certainly don't want to try and change anybody's mood if we can help it."
Fulham have lost their last three Premier League games, against Aston Villa, Swansea and Manchester United, a match from which they could well have snatched a point had their late penalty shout been given.
The last time Norwich played at Craven Cottage was on the final day of the 2004/2005 season, where victory would have kept Nigel Worthington's men up.
However, the Canaries were stuffed 6-0 as they dropped back down to the Championship after just one season.
Norwich have some players are out of contract at the end of the season, including midfielder David Fox, centre-halves Zak Whitbread and Elliott Ward as well as long-serving defender Drury.
Lambert, though, will delay any talks over possible new deals.
He said: "We will wait and see what is happening, the club has to get stronger every year, that is important.
"When it is all done and dusted, I will sit down with the lads and tell them what I think and make decisions from there."
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|Fulham hope to keep loan star Pogrebnyak|
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