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Serie A season preview: AS Roma

AS Roma 10 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 21, 2007

Jol expected to deliver Champions League football

Tottenham manager Martin Jol has met with chairman Daniel Levy, sporting director Damien Comolli and members of the club's board and been told that the club expect him to deliver Champions League football.

There has been growing speculation in recent days that the Dutch manager's position at White Hart Lane is under threat after two defeats in the first two matches of the Barclays Premier League season.

A 4-0 win over Derby looked to have eased the pressure on Jol but a statement on the club's website, confirmed that talks had been held reaffirming the expectations after some lavish spending in the summer.

Levy said: 'We have had two good, progressive seasons with fifth place finishes. I am an ambitious chairman, we are an ambitious club and we want Champions League football at White Hart Lane.

'We, the board, owe it to the club and the supporters to constantly assess our position and performance and to ensure that we have the ability to operate and compete at that level.

'We have made a massive investment in the squad and as a result we have the best squad of players this club has had for over 20 years and they are equally hungry for success and silverware.

'For that we need our management and coaching standards to be of the highest quality such that players can fulfil their potential and we can compete with the best.

'We have discussed all of these expectations with Martin and he has confirmed to me today that he feels he is equipped with a squad and a determination to take on that challenge.'

Jol, meanwhile, insists he is aware of what is required and intends to deliver.

He added: 'We had a full and frank conversation and I fully understand the ambitions of the club - they are the same as those of the supporters.

'He (Levy) has put a lot of hard work into this club and with the squad of players we have assembled, it is realistic that we should look to challenge for a top four position and I have assured him and the board that that is what I shall aim for.'

A meeting between Spurs officials and Sevilla boss Juande Ramos reported in Spain led to the spotlight remaining on Jol and his relationship with the board.

Sevilla, Ramos and Spurs have played down the significance of the meeting and the Spanish club want their coach to remain for at least the year he has remaining on his contract.

Ramos' is regarded as one of the top coaches in Europe for his work at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, leading Sevilla to consecutive UEFA Cups.

With one year left on his contract, he has the chance to impress in the Champions League this season. There is a contrast, however, between Sevilla and Spurs in the transfer market.

While the Spanish side appear to be struggling to keep Daniel Alves at the club, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has been determined to keep his best players at the club and also backed Jol with around £40million in the summer.

Nevertheless, William Hill have closed the book on Jol leaving White Hart Lane, with Ramos the overwhelming favourite to step in.

Dimitar Berbatov's agent, Emil Dantchev, has denied a breakdown between the Bulgaria striker and Jol having any bearing over the past week.

'I can tell you for sure that there is not a problem,' said Dantchev.

Jol certainly is a popular figure among players at White Hart Lane, with the young squad impressed with his manner and man-management.

Spurs have denied that they are in negotiations for another manager, and Jol's notes ahead of the weekend game against Manchester United were published by the club.

'Manchester United, like us, have not got off to the best of starts and we are now a point ahead of them,' wrote Jol.

Jol stated after the Derby win that he was already thinking about the United clash at Old Trafford.

'United will be without Louis Saha, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo for this game, but they will still be pretty confident,' he added.

'They have some new players that need to be bedded in and, along with the injuries, this can create a problem. Alex is strong though, he will get them playing better, but hopefully not against us.'

Jol's players have backed him since doubts have emerged over his future, with striker Robbie Keane the latest to admit his surprise.

Keane, who is on international duty with Republic of Ireland, said: 'I am surprised at the speculation but I'm focussed on the job here.'

The 27-year-old believes Spurs have shown glimpses of returning to form.

'We haven't played well, but the game on Saturday, I think that was coming, that's us back to ourselves,' he said.

'I'm not making excuses but we've a lot of new players in, and it's important that we gel together.

'Of course it will take a little bit of time but we showed on Saturday what we're made of and hopefully we can take that into the next game this weekend against Manchester United.'

Meanwhile, Juan Roman Riquelme's agent has claimed Spurs have made a bid for the Villarreal playmaker.