Alex McLeish insists there is no issue with Darren Bent after the Aston Villa striker apologised for being pictured out shopping on Sunday.
Bent missed the 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool through injury and was not at Villa Park to watch the game, only for a picture to later appear on Twitter of the England international out shopping in Cambridge.
The former Sunderland forward's absence prompted suggestions of a bust-up with McLeish, but the Villa manager has outlined why Bent was not involved against Liverpool.
"Bent was in for two hours' treatment this morning and was told to rest at home," said McLeish.
"He went home and watched the game but near the end he went out to collect some Christmas presents. End of story.
"Darren was injured. Do you think I would leave him out of a game like this?
"I don't know why there are conspiracy theories. We can't take a gamble with him. Darren has got to tell us he is not feeling it."
McLeish added: "Darren had a scan during the week. It confirmed he had a grade one injury, I didn't reveal it because I wanted to keep things back from Liverpool.
"You have to understand that. I didn't want Liverpool knowing our starting line-up.
"If players are injured, I don't necessarily think we have to declare that they are injured."
Bent also issued an apology on Twitter when Villa fans registered their displeasure when the picture surfaced online.
He said: "Nothing is more important to me than playing football, sadly injury meant I wasn't able to do that today. Gutted not to be involved.
"I hope to be back very soon. Watched the majority of the game on tv. Never knew popping out would cause an issue and for that I apologise."