Claudio Ranieri denies Diego Forlan refused to come off the bench in Inter-Atalanta, but does admit he asked not to play in a certain role.
There were already rumours of problems within the locker room after Forlan stormed off when substituted in Tuesday’s Champions League tie with Olympique Marseille.
It was today claimed Ranieri intended to introduce Forlan wide left for Joel Obi, but instead picked Luc Castaignos.
“He did not refuse to come on,” assured Ranieri. “I simply asked if he was prepared to do this specific tactical work on the left?
“He replied with great honesty: ‘No, Coach, if I do have to come on then I prefer to do it playing in another way.’ So I opted not to introduce him, as I needed something else.”
Some would consider that explanation to constitute a refusal, but Ranieri is adamant there was nothing to create controversy about.
Forlan was asked about the situation, but refused to speak on camera.
“Ranieri explained it well,” he told journalists off the record. “I didn’t refuse to come on, it was just a tactical choice. I have nothing more to add.”