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Nov 19, 2012

Jol defends 'nice boy' Hangeland's red card

Martin Jol has thrown his support behind Brede Hangeland after the defender was dismissed in the first half of Fulham's 3-1 loss to Sunderland on Sunday.

• Blog: Walk in the park
• Cattermole: Red card deserved

The Fulham boss defended Hangeland's challenge on Lee Cattermole, insisting it was an uncharacteristic tackle from the 31-year-old, not an act of malice.

"I can't remember having a red card at this club so there is no issue for me," Jol said. "Brede is a nice boy and he told me that it was not intentional and that he slipped.

"He went in with his left foot with the tackle and then he slipped. I don't think that is a common thing for him."

But Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill disagreed with Jol's view of the incident and had some scathing crticism for Hangeland, claiming there was no need for the tackle.

"It is amazing when we've been given the directives," O'Neill said. "How many times do we have to be told about it? We've been guilty ourselves, with Lee Cattermole sent off [in September's Capital One Cup win over MK Dons].

"Sometimes I don't understand players. I don't think it's a case that if you don't go in two-footed, people will consider you a coward. Quite the opposite. You have a better chance of winning a football match if you have a full complement."

Hangeland's red card put Fulham on the back foot for much of the second half and forced Jol to restructure his side. The decision to maintain an attacking focus left the home side exposed in defence, but Jol believes it was a risk well worth taking.

"Maybe we should have scored once or twice but it was difficult when we had someone sent off with 15 minutes to play in the first half," he said. "I thought we still had the quality to score one or two goals.

"So it was very disappointing to concede the first goal because with ten men it is difficult to play in their half and to take the initiative. We had to make the decision whether to make the balance in the team again or to go for it with three centre forwards and I tried that and it paid off.

"Of course the shape was gone and they maybe could have scored one or two more but, to be honest, we could have scored three so I feel that the third goal was probably the killer blow because otherwise I was fully convinced that we could have scored the second one."

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