Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick has hit back at Josip Simunic for comments made after being substituted following a recent Bundesliga match.
The Croatia international was taken off in the club's last league game against Cologne at half-time.
However, the experienced 32-year-old centre-back felt let down by his coach telling Kicker magazine that he was still waiting for Rangnick to explain his reasons behind the substitution.
Hoffenheim came from behind to earn a draw in the game at the Rhein Energie Stadium but are now without a Bundesliga win in three games.
Rangnick has now hit back at Simunic, claiming the former Hertha Berlin star is suffering from a lack of match fitness.
He told Deutsche Presseagentur: "I have nothing left to say about this matter.
"I don't understand his remarks. His substitution needs little explanation.
"Certain players in the squad are not at the correct level of fitness at the moment. Joe seems to be one of those players.
"We were unable to notice him because he was feeling so exhausted. He made some unusual mistakes."