Adel Taarabt has hit back in a series of press interviews after QPR boss Harry Redknapp labelled the Hoops playmaker 'three-stone overweight.'
Taarabt insists he is a 'professional' following Redknapp's claim that the 'overweight' Moroccan international is simply happy collecting his wages. Redknapp's interview came in the wake of QPR's stunning late defeat to Liverpool at Loftus Road.
Flashing his stomach to prove to the Daily Mail that he's not carrying too much weight, Taarabt said: "I am a professional - this is not about retaliation, this is about protecting my reputation.
"I played a reserve game for 90 minutes and if he didn't think I was running he could have taken me off. Maybe I didn't perform like I could because it was a reserve team game and I was protecting myself.
"Just because we are losing games I am not going to kick the ball in the stands. My job is to create and bring goals to the team. Maybe he expects me to make more tackles. I am not this type of player. I can only get fitness playing Premier League. You can train six or seven hours, but you won't be fit."
Redknapp's stinging attack on Taarabt came after a journalist in the post-match QPR-Liverpool press conference asked why the Moroccan international was not involved.
Redknapp's quotes on Taarabt
The QPR boss said: "No, he's not fit. He's not fit to play football unfortunately. He played in a reserve team game the other day, and I could have run about more than he did. So no, I can't pick him."
I can't keep protecting people who don't want to run about and train, who are about three stone overweight - Harry Redknapp
He then went on to say: "I can't keep protecting people who don't want to run about and train, who are about three stone overweight.
"What am I supposed to keep saying, keep getting your 60, 70 grand a week and don't train?"
The defeat to Liverpool, after QPR twice equalised in the final few minutes, was a bitter blow for the newly promoted club. A late Steven Caulker own goal handed the Reds all three points, and a clearly deflated Redknapp pulled no punches afterwards.
But Taarabt has hit back, not just at the weight jibes, but at the overall atmosphere at the west London club, taking aim at Redknapp's training methods and the set-up of the coaching staff.
Criticism of Redknapp
"He [Redknapp] spends most of the time in his office but when he gets off the phone he comes down to watch for five or 10 minutes - he never takes a session.
The training sessions aren't the same standard as Milan [Taarabt spent time on loan last season in Milan], or what I would expect under another manager - Adel Taarabt
"The training sessions aren't the same standard as Milan [Taarabt spent time on loan last season in Milan], or what I would expect under another manager.
"They are not as intense, the players aren't as motivated. It is the same as we used to do at Tottenham years ago. When we played West Ham he told the players 'you're not fit, you're not this, you're not that.
"I said 'but the problem is we don't have any plan in the game, we don't know how to press as a team. It's not just about running around, you need to play with your brain."