Newcastle forward Allan Saint-Maxmin says his comments in an interview with a French magazine which appeared to suggest he would be more effective in a better team were “taken out of context”.
The Frenchman took to Twitter on Friday morning to dispel any suggestion that he was criticising his team-mates in the interview with So Foot magazine.
“The interview I did with Sofoot has been taken out of context and shortened on Twitter,” Saint-Maximin wrote.
“I never said anything negative about my teammates, I simply said – as any Newcastle fan would – that I was looking forward to having an even better team so that we could progress collectively and that as a result, I could also progress individually.”
Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe will speak to his players on Friday in a bid to avoid any fall-out from the interview.
Howe also revealed that Saint-Maximin came to see him on Thursday concerned at how his comments had been interpreted.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, he said: “I saw the quotes, 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.
“He was concerned yesterday. We spoke and in no way did he mean to damage the team and the unity that we’ve built. Of course, he said things in an interview, but, as I said, it wasn’t in the context that he meant, although it happened.
“We will be speaking with the squad, and making sure there’s no fall-out from that because unity has been our strength. It’s vitally important that we keep that at all costs.”