Tony Popovic has a licence to overhaul Melbourne Victory but interim coach Steve Kean wasn't happy to learn the incoming mentor had started speaking to players.
Melbourne Victory interim boss Steve Kean has labelled incoming head coach Tony Popovic as "unprofessional" and "totally out of order" saying he didn't inform him he'd been speaking to current players about his A-League squad plans for next season.
Popovic has been given licence to effectively overhaul the struggling A-League club when he takes over in July on a three-year deal.
Kean, who is caretaker until season's end, said he hadn't spoken to Popovic yet and it was "disappointing" the incoming coach hadn't filled him in on his discussions with players.
"No, I haven't (spoken to Popovic). I actually tried to ring him yesterday but he never picked up," Kean said on Wednesday, a day out from Victory's home game against Macarthur FC.
"I believe behind the scenes he's been speaking with players about next season, which, to be honest, I thought was out of order - totally out of order.
"I thought I deserved the respect for him to call me and say that he was speaking with players. He's never done that, so that's very, very disappointing.
"I mentioned that to the players - I think they thought that I knew about that process, which I wasn't in the loop (for).
"That's very disappointing - I think Tony should have taken the time to phone me, but he didn't. But there you go."
Kean said he and assistant coach Jean-Paul de Marigny had both been kept in the dark
"Everybody is aware of my feelings," Kean said. "The players are aware. The chairman and the board are aware. I'll get on and be professional.
"I thought he (Popovic) was unprofessional in not mentioning it to me but people work in different ways and that was very disappointing.
"JP never knew, I never knew. So it's difficult when players come to you, that have been contacted and say that they're not required next year and we don't know about it.
"That's a difficult situation that I've had to manage for the last 24 hours."
Kean said he didn't know how many players had been told they weren't in Popovic's plans for 2021/22.
Eleventh-placed Victory have one win, one loss and a draw from their three games under Kean but will be without winger Callum McManaman (ankle) against Macarthur.
Kean said he was yet to hear an update on Adama Traore's disciplinary hearing, with Thursday night's match to be the full-back's fourth game of suspension.