Former Stoke City coach Kevin Phillips has claimed some players retained their Premier League wages after relegation, a decision which he believes damaged morale at the club.
Phillips , the former Sunderland, Southampton and West Brom striker, was part of Gary Rowett’s backroom team at Stoke until the manager was sacked in January following a difficult eight months at the club.
But during a discussion on BBC Radio 5 Live about the problems facing team when they are relegated, Phillips said it was something he had seen at Stoke City last summer.
He explained: “In terms of pay when teams come down, where players are having 40 per cent to 50 per cent cuts in their wages, we experienced this at Stoke.
“Straight away there was a rift within the squad because three or four players were put straight back on their Premier League contracts just to keep them at the club for this season.
“But there were other players who were not given their Premier League money, so straight away you’re fighting battles behind the scenes. And it doesn’t help the squad, it doesn’t you as a manager or a coaching staff to get that cohesion on the pitch, that camaraderie, that togetherness you need to be a success.”
In the weeks after Stoke dropped out of the top-flight, both Joe Allen and Moritz Bauer signed new deals, although it is unknown whether the contracts restored their top-flight terms.
When asked to repeat his claim about player wages at Stoke, Philips said: “From what I believe that is the case, but you’ve got to be very careful about the way you structure deals for these players.
“From our point of view, if you are going to do it with three or four players then you have to do it with the majority of the squad to keep that morale and cohesion you need in the squad.”
Stoke finished a troubled first season back in the Championship after a decade as a top-flight club in 16th place.