Chelsea captain Gary Cahill has launched a stinging attack on Maurizio Sarri, saying he struggles to show any respect for the manager who has sidelined him at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri has publicly said that Cahill is not technically good enough to play a possession-based style of football, leading to the defender not making a single competitive appearance since November and being in the matchday squad on only four occasions since then.
Cahill, 33, has now told the Daily Telegraph that Sarri's treatment of him has left a sour taste, after the Italian did not discuss the situation directly with him.
"It's been really terrible for me personally," Cahill said of his final season at Chelsea, with his contract expiring in the summer. "It will just be erased out of my head when I leave Chelsea. My last memory will be last season's FA Cup final [1-0 win vs. Manchester United].
"It's been very difficult. I have played on a regular basis over the previous six seasons and I've won everything with Chelsea, so to be watching from the stands is something I didn't expect. I know how the whole club works, I've got a big relationship with all the players and staff, and yet none of that has been utilised.
"If you are not playing a player, any player, for two, three, four games, then you don't have to give a reason for that. But if it gets to eight or nine games, then you have to explain the situation. What's going on? But the manager hasn't done that.
"I see some of the situations with players who won the title with Chelsea, not just myself, and it just hasn't been right. It makes it very hard for me to have respect for someone who has not respected what some of us have won with the club."
On the subject of Sarri's claim that he is not good enough technically to play possession football, Cahill added: "I've adapted to the different tactics, formations and philosophies of all the managers I've played under and will continue to learn from my next coach. Every experience, good or bad, is a learning process."
Cahill chose to see out his Chelsea contract rather than take the option of a move away during the January transfer window, and he has refrained from talking publicly about Sarri's treatment of him until now.
"I'm quite proud with how I have dealt with it," he said. "I've not been disruptive and I've trained hard every single day.
"I've got a respect for all the other people at the club, the players and the staff and the people who helped to give me a chance, so it's been important to me to conduct myself in the right way. And when you see an Ethan Ampadu, or another young player coming through, he can see how you behave every day, so you have to set the right example."
Cahill will look for a new club in the summer, and insists he leaves "with my head held high."
Asked about the comments after Chelsea's 3-0 victory over Watford, Sarri said he was not aware, but opted to praise his skipper.
"I don't know the situation, I'm sorry," he said. "It's not important for me.
"Cahill, during the season, was really very professional. He played only five, six or seven matches, but he was really very important in the training ground, in the dressing room. Today was his last match for Chelsea, so it was important for him to be on the pitch, only for a few minutes but I still think it was really very important for the fans and for him.
"Here, Gary won everything. And so I think he had to say goodbye to the stadium, to the fans, to the club."