Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini rejected Carlos Tevez's accusation he had treated him "like a dog" and said on Wednesday he had, if anything, been too nice to the rebel striker.
Tevez returned from Argentina on Tuesday having spent three months in his homeland without his club's permission and has not played for City since refusing to warm up in September's Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich.
Reluctant to talk about Tevez, who before heading back to Manchester had laid into his manager for the way he had handled events in Germany, Mancini spoke briefly about him during a news conference before Thursday's Europa League game at Porto.
"I totally disagree with Carlos, what he said, because I have never treated him badly," the Italian said. "Maybe it's the opposite, I treated him too well, always.
"This is the last question I answer (about Tevez for) the next three months."
The Argentine striker is not with the team in Portugal but has spoken of his desire to play a part in Premier League leaders City's pursuit of a first league title since 1968.
Much will depend on what shape the 28-year-old forward is in but his strong criticism of Mancini is also unlikely to help his cause, while it also remains to be seen how forgiving fans will be over his behaviour.
Describing his version of what had happened in Munich, Tevez had said earlier this week: "He (Mancini) saw me on the bench and as he was angry, he sent me again like a dog to warm up. Because he said it to me in a bad tone I refused."
Immediately after September's incident, Mancini had said Tevez was "finished" but has since softened his stance by saying last week: "If he was here and playing it would be better because Carlos can change games."
Tevez has been the subject of disciplinary action by the club, over both his refusal to warm up and his subsequent unauthorised departure to his homeland, and has said he would have to be "brilliant" on the pitch to get fans back on side.
For weeks after the game in Munich, the subject of Tevez was off-limits at Mancini's news conferences and the Italian's latest comments suggest this could be the case for the rest of the season.