Essendon coach John Worsfold has denied that his departed lieutenant Mark Neeld was made the scapegoat for the Bombers' disastrous start to the AFL season.
Neeld, who was the Bombers' game performance manager, departed the club on Monday effective immediately just eight games into the 2018 campaign after Essendon hit rock bottom on Saturday with a loss to previously winless Carlton.
The position will not be filled, but the club has continued to deny that Neeld was sacked.
"I can't control perceptions of other people and I can't control how people want to write things," Worsfold said on Wednesday.
"I've been totally aware that Mark's been working on his MBA and exploring those sort of options, business management options.
"I'm fully supportive of Mark's decision.
"I consider him a friend, I'm rapt with everything he's done to support me over my time at the Essendon footy club and I'll continue to support him in any pathway he goes."
Worsfold denied reports that former Melbourne head coach Neeld had ultimate say over the way Essendon played.
Worsfold insisted communication amongst his coaching group was good and also refuted suggestions that Neeld was the only other person permitted to speak up in the coaches box on match-days.
The Essendon coach said there was a chance that a change in tactics could occur this week against Geelong, but that may have happened even if Neeld was still at the club.
Worsfold signed a two-year contract extension in late March and insisted on Wednesday that he and the Essendon hierarchy were still on the same page.
"I'm really confident in my communication with the board and (CEO) Xavier (Campbell) at this footy club that we're not happy with where we're at but we're on a clear pathway to where we want to get to," he said.
"We've all got clear roles to play in achieving that so I see a club that's pretty strongly aligned and really focused on doing the hard work to get to where we want to get to."
The Bombers have lost their last four games and sit in 15th spot on the ladder with a 2-6 record.
Worsfold has shown great faith in his playing group so far this season but didn't discount the possibility of personnel changes for their meeting with the Cats on Saturday.
Jake Stringer (back) is in some doubt for the game but Worsfold said the former Bulldog would be in line for selection.
Michael Hurley has already been ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Worsfold also insisted that defender Mark Baguley was unaware that Jed Lamb's father was dead during their on-field incident on Saturday.
"My understanding is that Lamb sledged Baggers, and Baggers responded with a sledge as well which had nothing to do with (the death of Lamb's father) so it should never have been part of the conversation," Worsfold said at Tullamarine on Wednesday.
"If Mark Baguley had no idea about it, it's pretty hard (to imagine) that he would possibly comment on it."
Worsfold acknowledged he did not know exactly what Baguley said to Lamb as he had only been made aware of the incident on Tuesday night.
"All I can go on is what Mark has come out (and said)," Worsfold said.
"He was quite upset at the way it was reported - Jed made a personal insult to Baggers and got an insult back."