Sean Davis yesterday launched an intemperate attack on the Tottenham Hotspur head coach, Martin Jol, accusing him of being "arrogant" and of being unwilling to talk to players who are "not in the first XI".
The midfielder's criticisms came as he joined Portsmouth, along with two other players from Spurs, Pedro Mendes and Noe Pamarot, after a combined transfer fee of about £7m had been agreed. All three will make their debuts tomorrow against Everton.
Davis claimed he had endured "a nightmare" of not playing. "It's hard to take when you have been used to playing week in, week out and then not even making a 20-man squad," he said. "I did not really appeal to the manager. You'll have to ask him why."
Jol brushed aside the criticisms, claiming it was impossible to keep all his players happy at all times, especially with a large squad. "It's a very difficult one because if you never play or you are injured and come back and play occasionally, it is very difficult to keep players happy sometimes," Jol said.
Davis claimed he could "count on one hand the number of times" he had spoken to Jol since he had been at the club and that this "came across as a bit arrogant". But the Dutchman, who said Davis was "a terrific player", replied: "I did not speak to him for the last three or four weeks because he was injured."
Nevertheless, Davis' frustration was echoed by Mendes, who said he had also grown unhappy at White Hart Lane. "The last couple of months I have been working hard in training with the transfer window in my mind," the Portuguese international said. "That was the motivation I had."
Their anger is perhaps not surprising given the size of the Spurs squad, especially with the number of midfielders they have. Jol said that he did not want "to chop and change".
Portsmouth's manager, Harry Redknapp, revealed that Spurs had been targeted for potential recruits because they "have a big squad and we thought it was a place we could get players".
Even so, to recruit the three players, all aged 26, in one swoop represents a coup, especially as Mendes, who won the European Cup with Porto, was set for a return to Portugal, while other clubs had expressed an interest in Davis.
"I have signed three outstanding players," Redknapp said, adding that Davis "needs to get back on track" and could push for international honours.
The Portsmouth chairman, Milan Mandaric, confirmed that the Premiership strugglers want to recruit "three more players" before the end of the transfer window.
Redknapp said he had not yet made an offer for the Norwich City goalkeeper Robert Green and added that the back injury to regular keeper Jamie Ashdown may not be as severe as first thought. Green's agent Andy Evans said: "We are aware and flattered by Ports-mouth's interest and so are Norwich. If the two clubs can agree a fee we would be keen to talk to them." Green, also 26, is thought to be valued at £2.5m.
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