Steve McClaren has accused the media of trying to create a rift in the England camp with claims he does not see eye to eye with assistant Terry Venables.
McClaren and Venables appeared at odds with each other over the reasons for dropping Stewart Downing for the Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia.
“This is getting out of hand. I won’t answer any more questions on Stewart Downing,” said a clearly angry McClaren.
“Why are you trying to separate players and myself and even the staff?”
However, Downing said he was told by McClaren the decision was purely tactical.
There appeared to be an implicit criticism of McClaren’s team selection when Venables argued in his Sun newspaper column that a 3-5-2 formation requires attacking players on the flanks. The England manager opted for the more orthodox full-backs Ashley Cole and Gary Neville in the wing-back positions.
“Some (newspapers) I read and some I don’t. I don’t have to answer every column,” McClaren responded
“It’s a private matter between me and Stewart. We’ve drawn a line under it.”
And England goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence insisted McClaren and Venables are “working very well together”.
He said: “It is always interesting to see how they exchange ideas.”
McClaren was also upset at the media treatment of Paul Robinson after the goalkeeper miskicked a Gary Neville backpass to gift Croatia their second goal in the defeat in Zagreb.
“The criticism Paul Robinson received was ridiculous,” said McClaren.
“He was 90 minutes away from breaking Gordon Banks’ record of clean sheets then gets personal criticism I found totally out of order.
“I’m behind Paul Robinson. He’s the number one goalkeeper.”