Andrea Stramaccioni prepares Inter for their head-to-head with Catania and confirmed he has dropped Antonio Cassano after they had “a discussion.”
The newspapers in Italy this morning reported that there was a locker room brawl in which the Coach and his player had to be separated by Dejan Stankovic and Team Manager Ivan Cordoba.
“What happened with Cassano? He won’t be there tomorrow,” said Stramaccioni at the start of his Press conference.
“It was a situation that can happen in any Serie A locker room. Who knows how many times similar things happened without leaking to the papers.
“There was no physical contact, it was just a discussion. It annoys me that it was reported outside the training ground, as these things should stay behind closed doors. Antonio is one of the players I have used the most.
“Leaving Cassano out was my decision. It happened in the locker room and we shouldn’t make a big deal of it. Whoever leaked this story outside clearly does not want what’s best for Inter. The locker room is sacred.
“We have few strikers available and only two in Europe, so we have to ration out our energy levels. It’s a shame Tommaso Rocchi isn’t on the UEFA list, but nobody expected Diego Milito’s injury. He hasn’t been fully fit over the last few games, but will be used a great deal from now to the end of the season.
“Cassano will be called up for the Europa League game with Tottenham next week. This is my decision and he is not being punished, nor frozen out. Fredy Guarin and Ricky Alvarez are crucial to cover the gaps at the moment.
“I had used Guarin to support the strikers, but I can return him to his favoured position in the middle of a three-man midfield, as I now have Ezequiel Schelotto and Alvarez to provide alternatives.”
Stramaccioni insisted on turning his focus to the game, as Inter are only two points clear of Catania in the race for Europe.
“The Sicilians have confirmed the good work they already did last season. Rolando Maran has been extraordinary and this is a head-to-head clash for Europe as far as we are concerned.
“They also built most of their success on home turf, beating Lazio and Roma while holding Napoli despite playing with 10 men. On top of all that, this is historically a tough place for Inter to play, but we are ready.”