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Jol distances himself from rift with Riise

SoccerNews in English Premier League 18 Jan 2013

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Fulham manager Martin Jol has strenuously denied having a bust-up with defender John-Arne Riise.

The 32-year-old’s brother Bjorn Helge is believed to have told Sunnmorsposten, a Norwegian newspaper, that Jol and Riise came to blows and that the manager had lost the dressing room at Craven Cottage.

But the 57-year-old has played down any reports of a rift, owing to the fact he has three left-backs to choose from.

“My relationship was fantastic and is probably still okay, it is still good,” Jol said.

“You know as well as I do that it is the same all the time in England, if a player isn’t playing the reason is a bust-up, but I never had a bust-up with any player.”

Jol claims he only dropped Riise on the back of a poor run of form and results and wants the Norwegian to prove his worth.

“I wanted to change a couple of things after the Liverpool game and that is what we did,” he said.

“He will fight for his place like any other player would do if he isn’t playing.”

The manager has admitted the former Liverpool man could be on the way out as he has Keiran Richardson and Matthew Briggs to choose from as well.

“That is speculation unless there is a club coming in for him, and I told him I have got a few other options there, if he is doing better in certain areas he will be a very good player for me and if not I have got other options,” he said.

“Obviously players want to play and if he is not playing the next couple of weeks it is up to him (if he wants to leave).”

Jol also revealed that Bjorn Helge has denied making the remarks after contacting the club on Thursday.

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