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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep, 17, 2007

Tottenham play down speculation over Jol

Tottenham continue to insist that they have no plans to replace coach Martin Jol - despite their 3-1 home defeat to north London rivals Arsenal on Saturday.

Jol's future has come under intense speculation following Tottenham's disastrous start to the new season with Sevilla's Juande Ramos favourite to replace him.

Ramos claimed he had been made a 'dizzying' offer by Spurs last month but later retracted his comments and was pressurised into staying by president Jose Maria Del Nido.

But Spurs are now fourth from bottom of the Barclays Premier League - an identical position to last season at the same stage - and the fans are growing restless.

Ramos, 52, has told sources in Spain, according to the London Evening Standard, that he is to meet with Spurs again in the next fortnight.

But the 52-year-old, who arrives in London tomorrow ahead of their Champions League game against Arsenal, insists he does not want to leave Spain until next summer.

That is likely to guarantee Jol his job although continued poor results may eventually force Tottenham's hand.

For the moment the club are sticking solidly behind the beleaguered Dutchman even though the Ramos link refuses to go away.

A spokesperson for the club said: 'Martin's our manager and there are no plans to meet anyone else.

'It is inaccurate to speculate game-by-game. Martin has not had the start he would have wished but he wants to turn things around.'

Jol is likely to be given that time chiefly because Spurs would have difficulty in attracting any top coach to the club so soon after the advent of the new season.

Most of the leading coaches in Europe, including Ramos, will be starting their Champions League campaigns and Spurs are likely to sit tight and wait for their target to become available.

His contract expires in the summer and there are suggestions that Ramos has become unhappy with the way he has been treated by Del Nido despite winning the UEFA Cup in successive seasons.

Spurs have taken just four points from their opening six games but their latest backing for Jol is aimed at quelling speculation the Dutchman has a month to save his job.

Tottenham play Anorthosis Famagusta on Thursday in the opening round of the UEFA Cup and face Bolton on Sunday.

A win against Sammy Lee's struggling side would lift them back into a mid-table position and take the heat off the Spurs boss.

However, there is also renewed speculation that Jol has a major problem with England striker Jermain Defoe.

Defoe has two years left on his current deal with Spurs and is refusing to sign an extension.

The impasse has brought him into conflict with Jol who left the striker out of the squad against Arsenal despite being fully fit.

Spurs are anxious to avoid another Sol Campbell situation where the England defender was allowed to walk out of White Hart Lane on a free transfer to rivals Arsenal after persistently refusing to sign a new contract.

Jol is reported to have told Defoe he will never sell him to a top four club but the striker will hold all the aces the longer he refuses to put pen to paper.

Defoe, who cost £7m from West Ham in January 2004, has been linked with Chelsea and Liverpool, and is understood to be unhappy with the lack of first team opportunities at Spurs.

The London club may yet decide to cash-in on the striker in the January transfer window rather than let the situation drag on in the player's favour.

Jol is adamant he is the man to help break into the 'big four' and hit out at those who continue to undermine his position.

He said: 'I'm not hurting inside. I will try to get the results and as long as the players show me the commitment they showed me again, there is no problem.

'People said in 2005 I was going to be out of a job but I am still here.

'So I think I will be here in six weeks. I feel there are two worlds here in London.

'There are you guys (journalists) and then there are the supporters who read your papers. It's amazing, no?

'Although they read your papers, they're still backing me. That's a great feeling.

'I don't think the board is a problem. I tell them all the time what's wrong. We speak about players and talk about the team.'

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