Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has flatly denied allowing striker Loic Remy to miss the final-day clash with Liverpool with a fictional injury.
Reports on Tuesday quoted the France international as saying he had been allowed to miss the 2-1 Barclays Premier League trip to Anfield, which would have been the last game of his loan spell from QPR, in order to avoid injury ahead of the World Cup.
However, Pardew later issued a statement in which he insisted that was simply untrue amid a backlash from already disgruntled fans.
He said: "Following media reports today concerning my player selection for our final game of the season against Liverpool, any suggestion that I colluded and agreed with our loan striker Loic Remy that he did not have to play in this game are wholly untrue.
"To suggest that I considered there to be nothing riding on that game is also completely false. Our final league position was at stake, as was the race for the Premier League title for our opponents, Liverpool.
"What is more, each and every one of us associated with the club was desperate to get a result for our supporters, especially those 2,800 travelling fans who made the journey to Anfield that day.
"The reality was that Loic had sustained an ankle injury in our game against Cardiff the previous week. The results of an MRI scan conducted after that fixture revealed ligament damage and swelling around the joint.
"It was a result of this injury, and the fact that Loic was unable therefore to complete any training session during the week leading up to the Liverpool game, that meant he was not fit for selection.
"Had Loic been fit, then clearly, without question, he would have been selected to play in what was a crucial game like every other."
Remy, who joined the Magpies on loan from relegated QPR for the season last summer, scored 14 goals for the club.
However, injury limited him to only three appearances in March, April and May with his final goal coming in a 3-0 victory over Cardiff in their penultimate fixture.
Pardew had entertained hopes of signing the former Marseille frontman, who rejected a move to St James' Park in January 2013 to head for Loftus Road instead, on a permanent basis.
However, with Liverpool and Arsenal among a series of club's chasing his signature, their hopes of doing so had receded before a tepid conclusion to his stay cooled their ardour further.