Louis van Gaal has told Danny Koevermans that he should have stayed with AZ Alkmaar.
The Dutch international left AZ in the summer when he joined PSV Eindhoven.
But since his move the 29-year-old has failed to become a first-team regular at The Philips Stadion - although he has still managed 11 goals.
Van Gaal, though, has told him he should have stayed with Alkmaar.
"If he had stayed, then he would have played every time and would have scored a lot of goals," he told Sportweek.
"He should not have left, but he wanted to. He did not get the guarantee he would be a first-team regular, but I give nobody that guarantee.
"He did not want another role, which is a problem he now has at PSV."
Koevermans had claimed that Van Gaal has told him he would no longer be first choice with AZ, but the veteran tactician said he was misunderstood.
"In principle I only said that the new boys would get the first chance because they would need to get used to the new system," he said.
AZ finished third in the Eredivisie last season, but they are not repeating their fine form this term as they currently sit 11th - just nine points off the relegation play-offs.
Now Van Gaal admits the club cannot discount being dragged into the relegation dog-fight.
"Relegation may be unlikely, but it is a mathematical possibility," he said.
"You must never close your eyes to it."