Dowie on the offensive in the battle of wounded ego

Iain Dowie, the Crystal Palace manager, yesterday hit back at Martin Jol for making "defamatory comments" and told the Tottenham manager to talk face to face rather than behind his back.

Iain Dowie, the Crystal Palace manager, yesterday hit back at Martin Jol for making "defamatory comments" and told the Tottenham manager to talk face to face rather than behind his back.

Dowie questioned the Dutchman's tactics while working as a television pundit during Spurs' 1-0 defeat at Villa Park last week. But the episode has escalated into a war of words between the pair after a response from Jol, who launched a personal attack on Dowie.

Jol said: "Iain Dowie questions why Martin Jol plays Pedro Mendes on the right. He doesn't know that we had nobody else who could play there.

"He doesn't know anything about me. I feel like telling him he's not fit to mend my shoelace, but I can't because I have not yet been successful in this country.

"But Iain Dowie should make a few enquiries before he starts criticising me in public. He should also concentrate on the problems he has with his own team at Crystal Palace."

Dowie was clearly infuriated by the comments about the Eagles, who lie three points behind Spurs in the Premiership table.

The Palace boss said: "I've had two or three people ring me absolutely flabbergasted by the comments he made. But I'm not worried in the slightest what Martin Jol thinks of me.

"I'll wait to see him face to face. What I said was that Pedro Mendes was a central midfield player.

"Is he a central midfield player? I think he is. Nevertheless he's made very defamatory comments about myself.

"Mine was never personal. If he's got something personal to say, let him do it face to face and show some balls."

Dowie was quick to play down any talk of a vendetta between the pair, but Palace's trip to White Hart Lane on 28 December is now certain to have added spice.

He added: "If he had anything about him he would have picked up the phone. But I don't see the game against Spurs as any sort of vendetta.

"It's a tough place to go. We'll be going to a club who have spent £20m and are struggling. That's going to be a tough game.

"I've got a lot of respect for Martin as a coach. He took RKC Waalwijk from the verge of bankruptcy in Holland. I've researched what he's done and I respect it. It's a shame he's not done the same."

Jermain Defoe also seems to be impressed with Jol's credentials and has assured Tottenham fans he is not looking to leave the club.

The striker, whose agents are in talks with Spurs about an improved contract, has been linked with Chelsea even though Jose Mourinho has denied any interest.

Defoe, 22, said: "I am happy here and I've said that to my family, close friends and the players. I don't want to go anywhere. I think we will push on and I am thoroughly enjoying my football."

The Tottenham midfielder Rohan Ricketts has admitted he was glad that the former coach Jacques Santini resigned. Ricketts, recalled by Jol for the 2-0 win over Middlesbrough on Sunday, says he was surprised by Santini's surprise departure at White Hart Lane.

Ricketts said: "I would never say that I am happy at someone's downfall, but if it helps my progress, which so far it has, then I am pleased for me. It meant that there was a new manager and immediately you have the chance to impress someone else."

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