QPR captain Joey Barton has called the conduct of former manager Neil Warnock "embarrassing'' and told the veteran boss to "look in the mirror''.
Warnock, who signed Barton from Newcastle in August and immediately made him his skipper, lost his job with Rangers earlier this month with the club hierarchy concerned that he was presiding over an immediate return to the Championship.
The 63-year-old expressed his disappointment at the decision yesterday, telling the BBC that he thought owner Tony Fernandes had been "slowly poisoned'' against him. Warnock added that he thought some of the damage had been done via Twitter, saying: "It would have been difficult to resist because people get on the phone and tweet and it's almost like slowly poisoning somebody from outside the club and, no doubt, from within the club as well.
"It's a dangerous precedent. If you let players talk to the chairman but, you know, you can't stop tweeting.''
Warnock did not specifically name Barton, but the midfielder, a prolific 'Tweeter' who was sent off in Warnock`s final Premier League game against Norwich, took to the social networking site this afternoon to respond.
He wrote: "Neil Warnock saying I talk to much. Now that is funny. Lost his job and the guy is blaming everyone but himself! Embarrassing, time to look in the mirror mate. Last thing we need right. Big week.''
Then, in a thinly-veiled assessment of Warnock`s managerial capabilities, he added: "If I talked about Neil, he`d do well to get another job. Twitter cost his his job???? I can think of a million other things! #shutitwarnock.
"Looking forward to the game against Wigan tomo. 1st time in a while we actually have a plan and seem organised. #3ptsneeded.''
Barton, who also compared Warnock to fictional manager Mike Bassett, is no stranger to controversy on Twitter, having previously attacked the board of former club Newcastle on it.