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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 May 2006, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Spurs boss rues illness outbreak
Martin Jol
Jol has still led Spurs to their highest Premiership finish
Tottenham boss Martin Jol said an outbreak of food poisoning had affected his team in the 2-1 defeat by West Ham.

The result meant Arsenal snatched fourth place and a Champions League spot from Spurs and Jol said: "We had 10 players feeling sick overnight.

"We asked to postpone the game for 24 hours but we didn't want to risk sanctions. We took a gamble but I think you saw we weren't strong enough."

But asked if he would appeal, Jol added: "I don't think so."

Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore confirmed that he was not able to deem the match a "postponeable event" because Tottenham still had enough fit players to fulfil the fixture.

Middlesbrough were docked three points in 1997 for calling off a match with 24 hours' notice, a punishment which sealed their relegation.

And Jol said the club were mindful of that when they decided to go ahead with the game against West Ham.

"We heard about the situation with Middlesbrough," he said.

"We asked if we could postpone the game for three or four hours because the players had not eaten but that was not possible so we made the decision to warm up and after that everyone said they wanted to play."

Tottenham were offered a two-hour delay to the kick-off but decided that such a decision would have made no difference to their predicament.

But Jol, who has nonetheless led Spurs to their highest Premiership finish of fifth, remained philosophical about the situation.

"I can appreciate the reasons we could not postpone it," he conceded.

"West Ham didn't want to play on Monday because they have the FA Cup final on Saturday.

"It's always a thought that maybe we could have done better with a fit squad but I have to say to myself that it's all in the game.

"We're in Europe and that's the main target but to be fourth for most of the season and to lose it on the last day is a big disappointment. We're gutted."

Interview: Spurs head coach Martin Jol

West Ham 2-1 Tottenham
07 May 06 |  Premiership
Arsenal 4-2 Wigan
07 May 06 |  Premiership


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