Martin Jol plays down Juande Ramos animosity ahead of meeting

Fulham boss Martin Jol has played down talk of animosity with Dnipro coach Juande Ramos despite the Spaniard controversially replacing him as Tottenham manager four years ago.

The Dutchman was sacked as Spurs manager in acrimonious circumstances in 2007 before being swiftly replaced by then-Sevilla coach Ramos.

Jol's departure came after a successful 2006/07 season and months into the new campaign, during which time stories emanated about Tottenham officials meeting Ramos.

The pair come head-to-head for the first time tomorrow evening as Ramos brings his Dnipro side to Craven Cottage for the first leg of their Europa League play-off.

Jol was keen to turn attention away from any potential grudge match in today's pre-match press conference, although he seemingly made a jibe at his counterpart.

"He was there for 10 or 11 months and moved on and then ended up in the Ukraine," he said with a smile. "So it's something to think about.

"They play well. I was there last year playing against Dynamo Kiev. I think it is a strong competition."

Jol went onto successful spells with Hamburg and Ajax after leaving Spurs and returned to English football with Fulham this summer.

Ramos, by comparison, spent a short stint at Real Madrid and was sacked after just 47 days in charge of CSKA Moscow before joining Dnipro.

When asked about their different career paths, Jol retorted: "Talking about him is a different issue. Do you want to talk about him or about me? About both?

"I don't want to focus on the coach. He's important, but not that important. Same as me.

"They have to show it on the pitch. The only thing we can do is try and take control and bring our vision over to the players.

"Don't make it more important than this."

Jol's side have already dispatched Faroese minnows NSI Runavik, Northern Irish part-timers Crusaders and NSI Runavik of Croatia on their route to the play-offs.

The Ukrainian side were knocked out at this stage last year and have struggled in the Ukrainian Premier League of late, although Jol insists he is not taking them lightly.

"It's a good team, if you know the level of football over there," he said. "They've got a couple of good teams, very strong teams.

"Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk are the best two, then Dnipro. They play a high tempo, technically skilful. It's a very good footballing team.

"We are confident; 0-0 will not be the best of results.

"We need a cushion to go there because, at home, they're strong. We'll need a good result."

Fulham come into the match off the back of a 0-0 home draw with Aston Villa at the weekend but Jol is confident his side can find the net tomorrow.

"It's a different game, we start all over again," he added.

"We created chances against Villa, but not enough for my liking at home.

"The difference always is to score a goal. I would have been satisfied if we'd scored one.

"We were the better team and should have scored. But, although it's a different side tomorrow, it's an adventure.

"It's a new thing. I've been here for nine weeks and we will probably play in this style up front for the first time tomorrow.

"We'll wait and see. I'm very confident. We have to trust the players. We will play with a few other players tomorrow."

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