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Dec 11, 2012

Berbatov hailed following Fulham win

Martin Jol praised the influence of striker Dimitar Berbatov on his Fulham side after they claimed a 2-1 victory over Newcastle United at Craven Cottage on Monday evening.

Berbatov and his Fulham team-mates had gone seven matches without a win, but secured maximum points following goals from Steve Sidwell and Hugo Rodallega. However, it was Berbatov's close control and ability to bring his fellow forwards into play that earned accolades from Jol.

"We had that spell (of poor results) that started against Sunderland with the red card and two big injuries for us," he said. "That was very disappointing for us and then after that we couldn't play Bryan Ruiz - he was out for four weeks for us.

"I was happy that Berbatov, after talking to him, could fill in that role (behind the striker). It was vital, he didn't score so that was disappointing, but on the other hand he linked us up and kept the team together - I was very happy with him."

Berbatov signed from Manchester United in August, and Jol revealed the rest of the squad are aware of how important his experience can be for the club.

"The good thing about my squad is that they realise Berbatov is an outstanding player," he said.

"For me the most important thing is that after losing (Clint) Dempsey - who is making the difference for Spurs now, as well as (Mousa) Dembele plus Danny Murphy and Bryan Ruiz (through injury) I'm very happy that he came to this club because otherwise maybe we could have ended up with a little problem."

Jol's Newcastle counterpart Alan Pardew, who has not seen his side win away from St James' Park since May 2, was also full of praise for Berbatov's performance.

"He was special tonight," he said. "Everything he seemed to pluck out of the sky, everything seemed to die on his toe - he was a real problem.

"I thought we did much better in the second half with him but he is a class act when he is in the mood and when the TV cameras are here and he is a real problem."

The visitors came into the game in the closing stages of the first half and Pardew felt his side were on top after Ben Arfa drew Newcastle level. But the Magpies' manager was not impressed by his team's defending of a Fulham free-kick that allowed Rodallega to score a simple header, a goal which earned Fulham the win.

"Second half we had the game by the scruff of the neck really, the goal was a soft goal," he said.

"We gave away a cheap free-kick and then we didn't defend that situation well at all and have come away losing a game we should've got something out of.

"We just didn't defend it well it I'm honest, we are going to have to be better - we can't concede soft goals at this level. To win that game we needed to score three at Fulham and it is really difficult to do that.

"Of course it is very, very disappointing because I believe we have an honest set of players and we work on situations and really for us it is a poor goal, I can't so no more than that really.

"I'm worried in so much as we are not picking up enough points, that is pretty evident. Although the performances against Stoke, Wigan and today have improved, it is a worry we don't have enough points on the board."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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