Sampdoria coach Claudio Ranieri said the decision to rest Fabio Quagliarella in the 2-1 defeat to Spezia was partly tactical.
The 37-year-old, who has been linked with a surprise move back to Juventus in recent weeks, reassured the Blucerchiati fans that he will stay in Liguria.
But he was not on the pitch this Monday night, when M’Bamba Nzola scored the winner from the spot kick.
Quagliarella, who has scored seven goals in 15 games, entered in the second half but couldn’t help Samp bounce back against their local rivals.
Ranieri defended the decision and said he must sometimes leave out the leading goalscorer.
“I’m sorry to keep him out, he’s our leader and our goalscorer,” Ranieri told Sky Sport Italia.
“But in certain games we have to enter the pitch in a certain way, and in a way that’s not the way our captain is playing.
“Nothing happens if I leave him out sometimes.”