Jol glad to be in opposite dugout at Old Trafford after missing out on becoming Fergie's No 2
13:36 GMT, 23 March 2012
Fulham manager Martin Jol admires Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson – but is relieved he did not take up the post as his assistant.
The Dutchman takes his side to Old Trafford on Monday but, if things had panned out differently during the 2003/2004 season, he could have been sat on the opposite bench.
Ferguson revealed last year he approached Jol about becoming his assistant while the Dutchman was in charge at RKC Waalwijk.
Right decision: Martin Jol may have ended up as Alex Ferguson's assistant
The move was scuppered when the United boss got wind that his former No 2 Carlos Queiroz wanted to return from an ill-fated spell at the Real Madrid helm, but Jol is philosophical about the missed opportunity.
'At that time I met him only to have a conversation with him about everything,' the Fulham boss said.
'[The chance to become his assistant] was what he said afterwards.
'We talked football – they played Real Madrid with the “big” Ronaldo – so it was nice.
'Later he said about the assistant manager post, but I remember his assistant Carlos Queiroz went to Spain to Real Madrid.
'He was sacked so there was always a possibility for him to take him back and that is what he did.
'I think that was good because I don't think I am the best assistant in the world.
Beaten: Fulham were thrashed by Swansea last weekend
'I have a good relationship with [Ferguson]. If you look at the stats, he is probably the best manager ever.'
After the move to United fell through, Jol went on to manage Tottenham, Hamburg and Ajax before joining Fulham – with whom he hopes to secure his first victory over United as a manager.
The Dutchman has been thwarted in seven previous attempts against Ferguson's side, but joked he has one moral victory, recollecting the infamous Pedro Mendes “goal that never was” after Roy Carroll dropped his long-range shot over the line at Old Trafford.
'I can remember having a few good games and draws,' he said.
'I can remember a game where it was 0-0, but we should have won because Pedro Mendes scored a goal that went over the line so in my mind I have beaten them once.'
Lucky break: Roy Carroll was let off the hook after this 'goal' was not given
United come into this match looking to keep pressure on title rivals City, with the pair looking set to fight it out until the very end of the season.
'There is a small difference between two Manchester sides,' Jol said.
'I would not put my money on either of them. City are strong and of course United has got all the experience.
'It is the same as always, we will have to wait and see.
'If we can get a result against United, it will probably make it a little bit easier for City.
'If not, then I think it will be a battle until the end of the season for them two.'