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Cause for concern - not just yet

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Martin Jol: 'The man we really wanted when Hughes was appointed'. You don't get much higher praise than that.

Yet, it's been a turbulent week. One in which a third successive defeat has underlined a compounding sense of disarray on the banks of the Thames, and one in which our very own chairman launched a scathing attack on a man now well and truly consigned to the history books. It did a good job of covering up the real mess behind the scenes though, didn't it?

Jol's early Fulham tenure has been far from graceful, far from productive and even further from successful. As of yet, one Premier League victory has been achieved and while it may have been emphatic in circumstance, it still only brings three points and bragging rights aside, it's done little to boost our season. 

But, the signs of a slow start were there as soon as July came. Drawing away at NSI Runavik may have seemed a respectable scoreline at the time, but with a full strength squad and an attacking mindset, we hardly unnerved the rest of Europe with a display of weakness, bluntness and passivity. Wins over Crusaders were highlights but a draw in Croatia helped little with any forward thinking momentum.

Supposedly, of course, our run in the Europa League qualifying stages would provide a solid foundation to start our domestic campaign with an instinctive nous - but it never happened. We were obtuse at home to Villa and a series of draws and defeats followed. It's difficult to muster up a sense of match day excitement in the midst of eight straight games without a win.

But we had to, as fans. And while we rallied behind our new Dutch coach, he was seemingly doing vastly the opposite in his very own dressing room. For all the covering up and for all the attempts the paper over the cracks, Jol has clearly lost some degree of control at Craven Cottage - him and Zamora have fallen out and the team seem nonplussed as to what he really wants from them. It's not a perfect scenario, but what has Jol really done incorrectly?

So far his signings have been ineffectual at best. Riise has looked assured but has yet to add any extra dimensions to our left hand side, Kasami has appeared brittle and temperamental while and Ruiz has, on occasion, illuminated the football field with glimpses of class, he has been on and off at best. 

Of course, though, it's too early to go into that and each and every player Jol has brought in has potential at a minimum. As for the bust ups, we have to remember that no single player makes a team and yet a manager does. It should always be down to the players to show respect to the manager and if that is not so then words will be exchanged. If Jol wants to drop Zamora than so be it - just as long as he replaces him (and Orlando Sa doesn't count). 

It's always easy to fall on the side of a player when disputes like this occur, but who really deserves the final say? A player who has, quite gratefully of course, provided us with a steady stream of goals over recent years, or a manager with a backdrop of abundant success, employed and paid by the club as first choice to lead the camp?

It's right to feel concerned at the moment, as we're playing football without an edge, without craft and without guile. But we've been here before and we'll be here again. We're in the cyclical beautiful game and things will turn around.