West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis has lashed out at his former club Stoke City and labelled claims he called their skipper Ryan Shawcross a "loser" as "absolutely disgraceful".
Stoke manager Mark Hughes said on Friday that his predecessor Pulis had called Shawcross a loser in a voicemail message. The defender had accused West Brom of leaking news that their former striker Saido Berahino had served an eight-week ban for "an FA disciplinary matter".
Berahino moved from West Brom to Stoke last month.
"It's absolutely disgraceful," Pulis told British media. "Firstly, the phone call I made to Ryan is private, and then, yes, I did mention losers, but I said about people with innuendos making allegations that weren't true.
"I did use the word loser but I meant it in that way and I actually said, 'Ryan, you've never been that'. I was there for 10 years," Pulis added.
"I took them from the Championship to the Premiership. I took them to an FA Cup final and to Europe.
"I don't usually respond to bait and things like that, but I am really, really disgusted that from a few days before we played Stoke, (about) the innuendos coming out about Berahino, West Brom and myself."
West Brom beat Stoke 1-0 last week, with visiting manager Hughes stoking further tension between the clubs by saying Pulis showed him a lack of respect by failing to offer a handshake after the match.
Pulis responded by saying Hughes had walked away from the dugouts towards the visiting fans and he did not have a chance to offer the traditional post-match handshake.
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)