But days after denying he had fallen out with the player, he was quick to quash rumours the Norwegian had refused to travel.
Jol, however, did confirm that his absence was related to a poor performance in the 4-0 thrashing by his former club Liverpool before Christmas.
Jol said: "John Arne Riise is a fantastic boy - he will never come up with that sort of c**p, he didn't want to travel.
"If you have got (Matthew) Briggs, who is younger and who can go on the bench - John Arne Riise stayed at Motspur Park to do an extra session.
"I promised him if he was not starting it is probably better if you don't go with us.
"I am trying to do something, maybe to freshen things up or alert John to do more or to do better.
"He is an experienced player, so if he is not playing he is not happy.
"He wants to play but I have got three left-backs now. Keiran (Richardson) probably did the best job of the three."