Shanghai Shenhua have dismissed claims that Carlos Tevez has been frozen out of the team.
The Argentine has come in for criticism in China. with Shanghai's chairman Wu Xiaohui stating he has not lived up to expectation since joining from Boca Juniors.
Rumours have been circulating in his homeland that Tevez has been dropped to the Shenhua reserves, refuses to play and could be heading back to Boca.
Tevez has been left out of Shenhua's last two Chinese Super League matches, only enhancing speculation around him, but the club say he has not been pushed aside just yet. They did, however, urge him to put more effort in on the training field.
"Tevez has never been told that he has no place in the first team, and the claim that he refused to answer clubs’ calls [to play with reserve team] is not true,” press officer Ma Yue said in a statement.
"Quite the contrary, head coah Wu Jingui and team leader Mao Yijun have shown great concern for him and the communication between them is very smooth.
"Tevez brings a private coach from Argentina during the season and does extra training of his own accord after 4pm every day.
"We are not making excuses for Tevez, the club just want to clarify that he hasn’t abandoned himself like some foreign media have claimed.
"He should have realised that he will not be picked in the starting lineup purely on reputation. We have five healthy foreign players, if he wants to be one of the three who are eligible to play, he’s got to show the real stuff."