Alan Pardew, the Newcastle United manager, has flatly denied allowing striker Loic Remy to miss the final-day match with Liverpool with a fictional injury.
The France internationalist was reported yesterday 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 Queens Park Rangers, 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.
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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.
"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."