Joy for Jol as Fulham begin new year with a bang

West Brom 1 Fulham 2

The Cottagers were housed in a hotel in the middle of Birmingham and were kept awake by the celebrations which heralded the start of 2013.

But there was nothing sleepy about Fulham’s performance as goals from man of the match Dimitar Berbatov and Alexander Kacaniklic ensured a second win in the last 13 games.

Berbatov’s seventh goal of the season gave the Cottagers a half-time lead, and although Romelu Lukaku levelled after the break, Kacaniklic restored the visitors’ advantage.

It enabled Fulham to complete their first ever Premier League win at the Hawthorns at the seventh attempt and a double after the 3-0 win at Craven Cottage in September.

Berbatov had netted twice in that game and was again an inspirational figure with his vision and control, while Kacaniklic was a handful down the flanks.

Jol said: “Probably the best fireworks were yesterday at 12 o’clock in front of my hotel! That was annoying. I said we needed a quiet hotel and it was unbelievable. There were 2,000 people in front of my window!

“I think it kept the players up too so I was worried. At first I thought it was fans, but it wasn’t.

“To then get a win under our belts the next day, on the first of January, is fantastic.

Jol said: “We needed a bit of luck. We did well in the first half and scored a good goal.

“In the second half, they changed their formation a bit, the crowd got behind them and we conceded a soft goal again.

“But we picked things up again, found ourselves in midfield and, over the whole game, I felt the win was deserved.”

Jol was reluctant to praise Berbatov but is happy to have the Bulgaria international in his line-up.

He said: “I don’t want to talk about him all the time because other players will probably get annoyed.

“If you don’t get the results, they will pick on him and, if you get the results, you will say he was fantastic.

“But I’m very happy that he is playing for us.”

Albion could only manage a goal from on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku as they slumped to their third home defeat of the campaign.

Head coach Steve Clarke said: “It was a poor first half from us but a much better second half. On what we produced in the second half, we deserved at least a point out of the game.

“But the first half was really disappointing because we’ve set really high standards here at the Hawthorns and we didn’t reach them in the first half.

“But having got back into the game, we switched off and allowed Fulham to steal a goal on the counter-attack which makes it doubly difficult because then you have to go and raise yourself again.”

WEST BROM: Foster, Jones, Tamas, McAuley, Ridgewell, Brunt (Thorne 84), Mulumbu, Gera (Long 65), Morrison, Fortune (Odemwingie 65), Lukaku.

FULHAM: Stockdale, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Briggs, Dejagah, Sidwell, Karagounis (Rodallega 76), Kacaniklic, Ruiz, Berbatov (Senderos 90).

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral).

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