• Premier League

Jol: No rift with me and Riise

ESPN staff
January 17, 2013
Martin Jol says his relationship with John Arne Riise has gone from 'fantastic' to 'OK' © PA Photos

Fulham manager Martin Jol has flatly denied any rift with defender John Arne Riise in response to suggestions that the pair were involved in a training ground altercation.

Riise has not started in any of the Cottagers' past five games and Jol was willing to admit that excluding the 32-year-old from his recent starting XIs had strained their relationship.

Rumours of a bust-up surfaced as a result, while in the Norwegian press Riise's brother, and former Fulham player, Bjorn Helge Riise, was quoted criticising Jol's management style. But the 57-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur boss rubbished the claims and accused the media of creating them.

"My relationship [with Riise] was fantastic and is probably still OK, it is still good," Jol told Sky Sports. "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.

"I wanted to change a couple of things after the Liverpool game [when Fulham lost 4-0] and that is what we did. He will fight for his place like any other player would do if he isn't playing."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.