Fulham boss Martin Jol admits he was chasing Dimitar Berbatov for 12 months before landing him in August.

Jol wanted him last season but knew his chances were slim after United hammered Fulham 5-0.

"I think that put him off a bit," said Jol, whose team take on Sunderland at Craven Cottage this afternoon.

"But when I spoke to him I said that I have worked in Hamburg, in Amsterdam. I am here at Fulham now, why shouldn't you be here?"

Jol also gave an insight into the enigmatic striker's character that belies his public persona.

"He is a nice guy to have around. He is smiling and he loves his football - and taking penalties!"

Recalling his coolly-taken spot-kick against Arsenal last week, Jol added: "I asked him to just hit the ball, to strike it into the net.

"He said he'd wait for the keeper to move. That is what he did - in front of 60,000 people. That is why he came over to me at the bench after the goal."