Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan appeared to contradict Sir Alex Ferguson by claiming Wayne Rooney "was not ready" to play against Everton.
The England international has been in the media spotlight for days after lurid allegations about his private life surfaced last weekend and issued a statement asking for privacy at a difficult time.
Ferguson said he left Rooney at home rather than allow him to run a potential gauntlet of abuse from fans who used to adore the striker when he wore a blue shirt.
However, Phelan suggested that there were other considerations in the decision not to take the 24-year-old back to Merseyside.
"Wayne wasn't ready to play so we didn't play him," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.