Derby's Bradley Johnson has taken a "cheap shot" at boss Paul Clement, but his starting spot seems secure for now.
The club's record signing has helped them climb to ninth in the Championship after three successive away wins.
But he risked Clement's wrath when the Rams squad went paintballing this week.
"Bradley was the silent assassin. He got me from close range and when I explained it was me, he claimed he didn't know. I am pretty sure he did," Clement joked to BBC Radio Derby.
"It was pretty ferocious at points and if you get hit close up, wow it does hurt."
Midfielder Johnson, 28, joined from Norwich for a fee of about £6m and has made a big impression on the pitch - and off it.
The Rams are unbeaten in four games since his arrival, winning three, and he scored his first goal in the 3-1 victory away at Milton Keynes Dons on Saturday.
He has also taken some good-natured flak for referring to his new club as Derby City in a rushed BBC television interview soon after signing.
Despite Johnson's over-zealous paintballing action, Clement said the team-bonding exercise went well.
"It was very competitive and I didn't think it would be any different," Clement explained. "It was really enjoyable. The players really engaged in it. They came away laughing and happy.
"The last time I did it was with some 11-year-olds at my son's birthday party so it was a little bit tamer."
Derby are back in Championship action on Saturday when they are at home against Brentford.