Boss hails Cottage ace's role switch
Chris Baird's move into midfield this season has helped Fulham cope with the loss of key players, according to Martin Jol.
The Cottagers boss has been left short in numbers in the middle of the park after key players such as captain Danny Murphy, Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey all departed for pastures new, while Mahamadou Diarra has been sidelined because of injury.
As a result Jol opted to move Northern Ireland international, Baird, from a defensive role into midfield and he has taken to it like a duck to water.
And the Dutch tactician feels Baird's winning goal against Aston Villa at Craven Cottage on Saturday has highlighted his importance to the team in his new role.
Jol told the Chronicle: "I explained to him that we needed a new identity in midfield and that he could help.
"He certainly did that. He is a good football player and had a good education at Southampton [as an academy graduate].
"Last year he played right back, centre and I'm very pleased that he's so versatile and that he could do that job for us.
"He's important to us. He's getting fitter and fitter. He is playing for the national team in midfield now too which is good and they got a good result against Portugal.
"He is probably on top of his game and that was exactly what we needed."