Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips says criticism from manager Pep Guardiola that he was “overweight” was “a little hard to take”.
Guardiola said he dropped Phillips for a Carabao Cup tie against Liverpool in December because he returned from World Cup duty “in no condition to play”.
“For me, I wasn’t overweight, but obviously the manager has seen it in a very different way,” said Phillips.
“I just took it and did my best to get as fit as possible.”
He had struggled with injuries in the first few months of the campaign after signing from Leeds in a £45m deal last summer.
The midfielder told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Breakfast show that while he disagreed with Guardiola’s comments at the time, he worked hard and went on to make 21 appearances for City as they won the Treble in his first season at the club.
He said: “It was a little hard to take just because of how much it was oversized and how many people started talking about it.
“I was on the bench for the Leeds game straight after that and I was fit every match since then.
“It was just one of those things, it was a misunderstanding from me and some staff members.”