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Fulham V Tottenham at Craven Cottage : Match Preview

Updated 30 Nov 2012 16:01:29

Fulham V Tottenham at Craven Cottage : Match Preview

Fulham V Tottenham - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Dempsey departure was inevitable - Jol

Martin Jol insists there was nothing he could have done to persuade Clint Dempsey to stay at Fulham and even told the American he loved him before his summer departure.

Last season was the most successful season of the 29-year-old's career, yet he made no attempt to hide his desire to leave Craven Cottage.

With less than a year left on his contract, Fulham eventually sold Dempsey to Tottenham on transfer deadline day after a period of speculation that unsettled the midfielder.

This week Dempsey intimated he could have stayed had he felt more "valued and appreciated", but Jol laughed off those comments ahead of his return to west London.

"We did everything we could do so there are no regrets," Jol said.

"He wanted to be appreciated financially and he wanted a bigger club, a Champions League club, and that is what he probably got with Spurs.

"He didn't feel appreciated financially, but I am not the one deciding over the contracts.

"He said it time after time again that he wanted to go to a Champions League club.

"Even when I said in my last conversation with him that I loved him, it was not good enough to keep him here."

Asked if there was anything Fulham could have done to get make him stay, Jol shook his head and said: "No, no.

"You know what he wanted. He wanted to go to a Champions League club.

"If you feel appreciated, you would like maybe to stay at Fulham so there is a contradiction there.

"I think he felt loved but he still wanted to move, but of course I understand what he means.

"From the first day he came back from holiday he didn't want to play here. He wanted to move so of course you can force the issue and then come up with things.

"But hopefully he will get over it and hopefully he will feel loved at Spurs."

Dempsey will not be the only player making his first Fulham return, with Mousa Dembele also set to feature after also leaving the club for Spurs during the summer.

Fulham will be able to call upon Kieran Richardson. The 28-year-old returns after missing recent games with a hamstring injury, although similar issues will keep Alex Kacaniklic and Bryan Ruiz out for a further week.

Brede Hangeland serves the final game of a three-match ban against Spurs and Simon Davies also misses out as he continues his return from a hip complaint.

Meanwhile, Andre Villas-Boas has ordered Luka Modric to stop meddling in Tottenham's affairs before insisting Gareth Bale will not be joining the Croatian at Real Madrid.

Modric, who moved from Tottenham to Madrid for #30million last summer, has urged his former team-mate to make the same switch to the Spanish capital.

Bale recently admitted he would one day like to play abroad, and Madrid have been heavily linked with a move for the winger as they look to kickstart a campaign in which they sit third in the league, some 11 points behind Barcelona.

Although Bale recently signed a new contract, there is a fear his head could be turned if Real's players start to court the player in the same way Barcelona did with Cesc Fabregas in 2011.

Villas-Boas admitted earlier this week that he expected interest in Bale after the Welshman's excellent form this season, but today made it clear that the winger is not for sale.

"Obviously Modric is aware of Gareth's performances because of his love for Tottenham and the fact that he is very connected with him and this football club, but it's completely impossible (for Bale to leave)," the Tottenham manager told a press conference.

"We have to protect our assets regarding our objectives. We have to qualify for the Champions League so in order for that to happen we need players that can make the difference.

"We are not looking to sell."

The Spurs boss has Steven Caulker available for the game after he recovered from illness and he also reported that long-term injury absentees Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto are expected to return to full training next week.

"They are extremely important for the club so that will be a big boost," Villas-Boas said.


PA

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