- Associated Press - Saturday, April 7, 2018

LISBON, Portugal (AP) - Sporting Lisbon manager Jorge Jesus has denied his club suspended several players after they took offense at the club president’s tirade following a defeat.

Jesus says following a meeting on Saturday between him, club president Bruno de Carvalho, and players that “there were no suspensions,” and he is still free to choose his squad for Sunday’s Portuguese league match against Pacos Ferreira.

De Carvalho harshly criticized his team’s performance by signaling out mistakes by individual players on social media following Sporting’s 2-0 loss at Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League quarterfinal on Thursday.

Several players responded by posting a joint statement on social media defending their commitment to the club and questioning the manners of De Carvalho, who they said should support them as their “leader.”

The club already issued a statement denying media reports that some players refused to train on Friday.

Jesus said he would pick his team from those players who were fit. He said Fabio Coentrao, Bryan Ruiz, and William Carvalho were all doubtful after picking up knocks against Atletico.

Sporting is in third place in the Portuguese league.

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