Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov has accused former boss Graham Rix of 'killing the team' before his departure from Tynecastle.
Rix was sacked by the club last month, with Valdas Ivanauskas appointed interim first-team coach until the end of the season.
Hearts were second in the Scottish Premier League when Rix departed and they have since reached the Tennent's Scottish Cup final.
However, Romanov told Sky Sports News: 'He physically killed the team, they were physically weak.'
Romanov denied suggestions he selected the team rather than the manager, adding through an interpreter: 'It's ridiculous.'
Hearts will face Gretna in the cup final, yet Ivanauskas is unlikely to be handed the manager's job on a permanent basis.
'He hasn't got enough experience,' Romanov said. 'I'm not looking for the greatest manager but somebody who has the same way of thinking.'