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By ESPN Staff

Spurs boss Jol: Sacking me would be a mistake

Tottenham boss Martin Jol has suggested getting rid of him would be a backward step for the club and feels his board understand the progress made in the last three years.

His view is backed up by chairman Daniel Levy who this week denied a package was being agreed for Jol's departure, although there has been a lingering suspicion of the Dutchman keeping the seat warm since Spurs officials met Sevilla coach Juande Ramos last month.

Spurs were also linked with Jose Mourinho after the Portuguese coach left Chelsea, yet Jol is confident that his consecutive fifth-placed Premier League finishes have been recognised.

'The fans know how difficult it is if they change management again, they know you could easily go back for years,' Jol said on BBC Radio Five Live. 'I hope people are realistic - you can get anyone in the world to come, but to do better you must finish fourth.'

He added: 'There's football people at our board and I think they realise it otherwise they probably would have made a decision.

'I feel top five was probably more than we would have expected when I started.'

Spurs are currently in the bottom three and have to wait until Monday's clash hosting Aston Villa for a chance to turn their league form around.

Two seasons ago they were a win from the Champions League and they secured fifth again in the last campaign, leading to the heightened expectation to compete for a top-four place this time around.

'That is why it was an eye-opener when I said no-one could have done better, because I firmly believe that,' he added. 'Even Mourinho. To be fifth with Spurs is probably not bad - it's very good. There was no manager before me who did the same.'

Jol's case is strengthened by the number of young players he has brought through since taking over from Jacques Santini in 2004 - the oldest players starting against Middlesbrough last night were 27-year-olds Paul Robinson and Teemu Tainio.

'Sam Allardyce always had a different philosophy,' said Jol. 'He always took free transfers, pay high wages. We want the value on the pitch.'

The Dutchman feels the club can now attract the finest young talent in the world to White Hart Lane, which they did this summer with Gareth Bale, Younes Kaboul, Darren Bent and Kevin-Prince Boateng.

'I can mention five or six players,' he said. 'I feel it is more a matter of examples. If they see Tom Huddlestone, Aaron Lennon and Michael Dawson.

'I had the same last season and we still had 60 points. I have to combine the results with the development. Even at Arsenal that is not the case.

'I feel we have more talented players than any other club. Maybe Arsenal have the same. (Abou) Diaby and Denilson come on when things are going well or in the Carling Cup.

'For us it's still different, because of Ledley King being out we needed cover. We could go for (Cristian) Chivu, (Sylvain) Distin or Kaboul. We felt in the long term Kaboul will be a better player than the others.'

Criticisms of Jol include his tactics and substitutions, and his decision to take off Jermain Defoe against Boro put him in the spotlight, although his change was vindicated as Spurs turned the Carling Cup tie immediately after the switch.

Defoe has been left out of the matchday squad for the last two Premier League games and was upset at being taken off.

'He wasn't happy but Keane wasn't happy against Fulham,' Jol said. '(Dimitar) Berbatov wasn't happy against Sunderland. It's the same all the time. Jermain did okay (against Boro) but not more than that.'

Defoe's contract runs out at the end of next season and chairman Levy wants to avoid the England striker leaving for nothing like Sol Campbell.

'Of course,' was Jol's response when asked if he wanted Defoe to commit.