Upon further review, Terry Collins said he misspoke.

A day after saying he doesn’t “answer to fans” — in response to a question about the perception the Mets didn’t have Jordany Valdespin’s back after the flamboyant utilityman was drilled by a pitch Saturday — the Mets manager clarified his comment.

“I regret the choice of words,” Collins said before the Mets’ 4-2 loss to the Cardinals last night, their sixth loss in a row. “I certainly respect the New York fans, they are the most knowledgeable I’ve been around. They know the game, the players, the people. I’m a human being, I may have used a bad choice of words, but I’m also frustrated.

“Here we are, we’re scuffling, and there is one topic to talk about [Valdespin]. I understand we’re not playing good, so that’s the story. I’m tired of talking about it. I want to talk about getting better.”

Collins said he’s not the same manager who had meltdowns with the Astros and Angels that led to his departure from both teams.

“Years ago I let it get to me because I thought it was a direct reflection of the job I was doing,” Collins said. “Right now I know they’ve got to play and they’ve got to be ready. My job is to make sure they stay ready, and the one way to do that is to keep them positive.

“I’ve seen guys play as hard as they can play, it’s just that we’re not hitting and not pitching and we’ve got to get better.”