Gary Neville has defended his comments about Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius, which prompted an angry response from the player and his manager Jurgen Klopp.
Neville, who was a special guest on Sunday Supplement, was involved in an exchange with Karius and Klopp after he said the Reds stopper transmitted anxiety and nervousness to his team-mates during their 4-3 defeat at Bournemouth.
The Liverpool goalkeeper took offence with Neville's thoughts, questioning his credibility as a pundit following his spell as Valencia manager, which in turn saw Phil Neville and Jamie Carragher enter the debate as the story developed.
Neville stood by his comments, claiming the storm which followed was a product of Liverpool's handling of the situation.
"It became a big story because the player, coach and Liverpool added fuel to a fire that wasn't there," Neville said.
"Two weeks ago [on Super Sunday] my most critical comments were about a United and an Everton player. No one will remember what my comments were because Manchester United and Everton never reacted to it, the players never reacted to it and they were forgotten about.
"I called Marouane Fellaini pathetic and idiotic and I battered Maarten Stekelenburg for his part in Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal.
"I said Karius transmitted anxiety and nervousness to his team-mates. The other two stories have disappeared to the point at which no one can remember them, that's how I would expect press departments of football clubs to deal with these things.
"Once Karius did his newspaper interview I knew he would be out of the team in four or five days, I knew he brought pressure upon himself.
"I always say young players should always do interviews. Me saying, 'stay clear of the situation', which was my advice to Karius after doing the interview - and also Phil Neville and Jamie Carragher saying 'shut your gob', we weren't actually talking as pundits.
"From our point of view as pundits, we've done our job. We created the debate. I'd say we were more guiding him as an ex player or a coach, saying 'this is not a fight for now'."
Oliver Holt of the Mail on Sunday accused the Neville brothers and Carragher of bullying Karius after he responded to their criticism in a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Mail.
But Neville staunchly rebuffed that claim, insisting they were a valid observation rather than a criticism.
"He can have a dig at me for the next six months," Neville added. "I would always say to a player going into an interview 'what is going to help you win games, what is going to make you play better?'
"The fact he took on the interview is fine but did it actually help him? Did Jurgen Klopp's interview help him?
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"From my point of view, calling it bullying young players is absolutely ridiculous.
"I was critical of David de Gea a few years ago and he's gone on to prove me wrong through silence and good performances.
"There was nothing personal against Karius, it was an observation. At the time, the statement 'he transmits anxiety to his team-mates and around the stadium' was correct.
From my point of view, calling it bullying young players is absolutely ridiculous. There was nothing personal against Karius, it was an observation.
"From my point of view there was fuel added to the fire continuously, which meant the story grew when it didn't need to.
"It could have been forgotten about like the Stekelenburg and Fellaini comments."
The Sky Sports pundit went on to encourage players to regularly conduct interviews with journalists, as long as matters on the pitch were not jeopardised.
"The 'shut your gob' comment does not mean young players like Karius shouldn't do interviews. Of course they should do interviews, players should do interviews all the time," Neville said.
"What I should say is that from coach to player it wasn't a fight for now, save it for the end of the season when you've got the Premier League title around your neck.
"Don't take this on now because there is going to be more pressure on you that you don't actually need.
"Young players are distracted by headlines, fact. I never once thought it was a good idea to take on a journalist or a pundit in public. Does it make you play better? Does it put more pressure on your team-mates?
"I think it would have done, so my thought on it was simple. It was a story that mushroomed out of nothing and it didn't need to."