Souness baffled by Cole's complaint

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The Independent Football

Graeme Souness, the Blackburn Rovers manager, has hit back at Andy Cole's suggestion that he is victimising the centre-forward, who has reported Souness to the Professional Footballers' Association.

Souness revealed he "fined" Cole earlier in the season by sending him on holiday. He said: "I am surprised about this story about the way I treat Andy. When he was sent off against Southampton earlier this season, my 'punishment' of him was to let him go to Dubai."

The latest row began when Souness and Cole clashed over a week's "player bonding" in Marbella recently.

Cole was not happy about the break in Spain being arranged, and Souness took exception to the fact that he had complained. Souness then excluded Cole from the trip, which prompted the striker to call the PFA to protest.