Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe has confirmed he has accepted Allan Saint-Maximin's explanation for an interview he gave in France, which quoted him criticising his teammates.
The French winger spoke to magazine So Foot, and whilst he was seen to be praising the new owners and fans, he was not as complimentary about some of his colleagues - especially the club's strikers, who he seemingly blamed for not converting chances.
“Those who have played with me know very well that in terms of pure quality, I have nothing to envy [from] Sadio Mane," he is quoted as saying.
“The day when I have a player capable of finishing the [assists], I will have seasons with 10-15 assists, and I will change opinions in the people’s heads.”
Saint-Maximin took to Twitter earlier in the week to insist that the interview had been taken in the wrong context.
Howe has confirmed that Saint-Maximin would be addressing the squad, and insisted that he had been misinterpreted.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, ahead of the club’s game against Manchester City, the Newcastle manager said: “I saw the quotes and I spoke with Allan. I think I need to make this clear that Allan’s quotes didn’t come across in the way he meant them to.
“I have accepted his explanation. It is very difficult when things are being translated from another language, that is always a slight concern. I was happy with Maxi’s explanation of it.
“He was concerned and we spoke and in no way did he mean to damage the team and the unity we’ve built so of course he said things in an interview. It wasn’t in the context he meant, although it happened.
“We will be speaking with the squad and making sure there is no fall out because unity has been our strength and it’s vitally important that we keep that at all costs.
“Ideally I wouldn’t want any of my players speaking about anything other than themselves and their own career. I don’t think players need to talk about other players or other players from other clubs.
“I have no concerns over his mood. I don’t think I will be fining him for that situation. I think it’s more a case of education and making sure the players know what we expect.”
It remains to be seen if an incident such as this will impact on Saint-Maximin's future - given he is believed to be one player who could the club this summer, as 90min revealed earlier this year.