Fulham boss Jol hails 'vital' Berbatov after Newcastle win

The classy Bulgarian put on another virtuoso display as the Cottagers ended a run of seven Premier League matches without a win, and earned the praise of his manager
Dimitar Berbatov was once again the key man as Fulham ended a winless run of seven matches in the Premier League with a hard-fought victory over Newcastle, according to boss Martin Jol.

Playing in a slightly deeper position behind the striker, the classy Bulgarian exhibited numerous tricks and flicks which wowed the Craven Cottage crowd and threatened to open the door to goal for his team-mates.

Steve Sidwell gave the hosts the lead on 19 minutes with a strike which deflected off Mike Williamson, but Hatem Ben Arfa equalised in spectacular fashion before Hugo Rodallega's header sealed the points.

Yet despite not troubling the scoresheet this time around, Berbatov was the first name on Jol's lips as he contemplated his team's success.

9/5 Fulham are 9/5 with Bet365 to beat QPR at Loftus Road
"He's a quality player, and the good thing about my squad is they realise he's an outstanding player, and when Bryan Ruiz is not playing, he is the one who is keeping us together," the Dutchman told reporters.

"He covered more ground than ever before, so he was probably a bit tired when we needed him to score goals, but he didn't moan and I'm very satisfied he is a No.10 as well.

"When Bryan played, we scored three against Arsenal, five against Norwich, three against West Brom.

"So I was happy that Berbatov was able to fill in that role, and he was vital. He didn't score, and that was disappointing, but he linked us up and kept the team together. I was very happy with him.

"For me the most important thing is that after losing Dempsey, Dembele, Danny Murphy and Bryan Ruiz, I'm very happy he joined this club because otherwise we could have had a problem."

Even as he reflected on a fifth Premier League defeat in seven which leaves his side just four points above the relegation zone, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew could not resist paying his own tribute to Berbatov.

"He seems to pluck everything out of the sky, everything seems to die on his toe," he said. "He was a real problem. We did a lot better against him in the second half, but he's a class act.

"When he's in the mood and the TV cameras are here, he's a problem."