Paul Clement has claimed Darren Bent was overweight and lazy during their time together at Derby in response to stinging criticism from his former striker.
Clement, whose Reading side kicked off the new season with a last-gasp defeat to his old club, was sacked as Derby head coach in February 2016 after just eight months in the role.
The former Real Madrid and Paris St Germain coach had guided the Rams to fifth place in the Sky Bet Championship but Bent felt the writing was on the wall during a seven-game winless run.
“It was inevitable he was going to crumble (at Derby),” Bent said in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports during Friday’s Championship opener.
“Training had changed and his philosophy from pre-season had gone out the window because we weren’t getting the right results. And ultimately he didn’t really like confrontation.”
Clement took to Twitter to defend himself, stating that Bent still felt aggrieved after failing to nail down a starting place in his side.
“I sense some bitterness here, which is normal if a player does not play much,” said Clement.
“It is never a difficult decision to leave out a player who is over weight and lazy.”