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Jan 17, 2013

Jol denies Riise bust-up

Fulham manager Martin Jol has 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 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 abound a training ground bust-up surfaced as a result while in the Norwegian press, Riise's brother, and former Fulham player, Bjorn Helge, was quoted criticising Jol's management style.

Jol, though, has moved to dismiss the claims and criticised the media for creating them.

"My relationship [with Riise] 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.

"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."

Jol did not, however, rule out the possibility that Riise could move on this month.

"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," Jol added. "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)."

Meanwhile, Bjorn Helge Riise contacted Norwegian channel TV2 to clarify his initial comments on Jol.

"I was sorry and I thought it would be a real shame if they thought I meant those things,'' he said. "I had, and I still have, a good relationship with both Jol and the club and I don't want something like this to ruin it.

"The quotes that were published were not correct. I never said that Martin Jol is arrogant, but I did say that he can look a bit arrogant. Martin is a great guy and I had a very good relationship with him. He's a likeable guy, well liked by both players and fans."

He also said he was unaware of any rift between Jol and his brother.

"No, there is no argument between John Arne and Martin Jol, as far as I understand," he said. "I haven't spoken with John Arne directly about the matter, but as far as I understand it's more about him wanting to try something new.

"He's used to playing regularly and if he's suddenly second or third choice he'll want to move on to a club where he'll play. At the same time John Arne isn't a quitter, so it's possible that he'll stay and fight for his place in the team."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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