West Brom boss Roy Hodgson has said "no player should be bigger than his club" and the manager should be the most powerful figure ahead of Thursday's clash with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Hodgson stressed his comment was not aimed at City striker Mario Balotelli, who has been involved in a series of spats with Roberto Mancini and was sent off for a third time this season against Arsenal.
But he said: "It should be that no player is bigger than his club. No player should really be a stronger person than the manager at the club. Once that happens you're taking the power from where it should be, in the hands of someone who represents the club, the fans, the owners and the team."
Hodgson made it clear that the kind of control enjoyed by Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United is crucial for a club to enjoy success.
When asked how to manage troublesome players, Hodgson said: "It's very difficult because, to use a Swedish expression, you always want the church in the centre of the village.
"In football terms, the church is the club itself which is often embodied in the manager, with Sir Alex Ferguson being the classic example.
"Once you get difficult players, backed up often by a sympathetic media who are happy to see the church get moved around, then it becomes very difficult."
Hodgson added: "I'm talking very globally here. What you must not do is in any way refer this to Balotelli. I'm not referring to Balotelli. I don't know the man from Adam. He might be the nicest fellow in the world, he might be a great pro."
Hodgson does accept that the financial worth of a player can cloud the issue when it comes to deciding whether to retain his services.
He said: "There's a further element - the financial element. We've seen it with Tevez. It's pretty obvious to everyone the main reason Carlos Tevez comes back and plays again for Manchester City is because, if he doesn't, that's an awful lot of money out of the window."