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Jol: Dembele is the best player on the ball I’ve ever seen

Mousa Dembele. Photo: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport Mousa Dembele. Photo: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
7:10 AM

Fulham manager Martin Jol has admitted it was a big blow to lose Mousa Dembele to Tottenham and says the Belgian is among the finest players he has ever coached.

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The Cottagers were left with no choice but to sell the versatile 25-year-old when Spurs triggered his £15million release clause two days before the transfer deadline.

Dembele has settled quickly in Andre Villas-Boas’ side, scoring on his debut against Norwich and excelling on his first start in the 3-1 victory over Reading on Sunday.

Former boss Jol has heaped praise on the departed midfielder and admits it will be difficult for Fulham to make up for his absence.

“We’ve had a few players over the last few years who are a class above,” said Jol.

“Dembele is probably the best player on the ball I’ve ever seen, and we lost him.

“So we needed to give ourselves a new identity.”

Two goals from Dimitar Berbatov on his home debut gave Fulham fans reason to cheer as they dispatched West Brom 3-0 on Saturday, with Steven Sidwell adding a late third.

But Jol felt his side missed Dembele against the Baggies, who had Peter Odemwingie sent off, despite the comfortable scoreline.

“Dembele against ten men would have done something different,” he said.

“That is what we lacked a bit and that is why we couldn’t score the third goal.”

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Fulham

Nickname: The Whites

Ground: Craven Cottage (capacity 25,700)

Founded: 1879

Honours: Second Division: 1949, 2001.

Third Division: 1932, 1999.

Southern League: 1906, 1907.

Leading goalscorer: Gordon Davies, 178.

Leading appearances: Johnny Haynes, 658.