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Jol: Villa too good to go down

10 March 2012 08:33

Fulham manager Martin Jol said Aston Villa will survive the drop, despite a tumultuous past few months.

Alex McLeish's side have an eight-point advantage over the relegation scrum, sitting in 15th place in the Premier League, but have recently lost star striker Darren Bent to injury for three months.

Jol has sympathised with McLeish over Bent's absence, but insisted Villa are good enough to ensure their top-flight status without him.

"They have got the same situation as a lot of other clubs where they rely on the players who can make a difference," he said.

"Sunderland had the same, they had Darren Bent there who scored 24 goals and made the difference. He went and then you have a little problem."

"With Aston Villa, if you miss your best players you can have a little problem too."

"I feel you have to rely on your best players and if they do the business you'll be fine, with the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor, Stephen Ireland coming into the team and Robbie Keane when he was there."

"I think Aston Villa have a very good squad and are too good to be in any trouble."

Focusing on the talent at Fulham, Jol praised January signing Pavel Pogrebnyak.

The striker signed from Stuttgart on a short-term deal in January and has gone on to score five goals in his opening three games – a Premier League record – helping Fulham to three consecutive victories.

"I feel that we had confidence before last weekend's win over Wolves and go to Villa confident because we haven't lost seven games out of 13 away from home," he said.

"It's not bad but you have to win games and we had nine draws, for example, five or six away from home so we were close. But you need players who can make the first goal."

"Pavel did that against Stoke at home, he did that against QPR and he did it against Wolves and that is what you need to win games."

"Liverpool were probably the better team against Arsenal last weekend, but Arsenal have Robin van Persie."

"He scored two goals from nothing and that wins you games, so that is what we needed as well."

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