Inter Milan boss Claudio Ranieri insists Diego Forlan did not refuse to come off the bench during the team's 0-0 draw with Atalanta on Sunday.
Serie A Highlights: 18 March (UK/US/ROI only)
• Inter Milan 0-0 Atalanta
Ranieri had asked Forlan to come on as a substitute for Joel Obi out on the left, but ultimately it was Luc Castaignos who was introduced in the 77th minute.
Forlan had appeared unhappy when he was substituted during the recent Champions League tie with Marseille, but Ranieri has played down talk of a rift with the striker.
"He did not refuse to come on," Ranieri said. "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."
He added on Sky Sport Italia: "It was a tactical decision. During the week Diego and I spoke about ideas in football and about how we can understand each other's."
Inter are currently seventh in Serie A, seven points behind third-placed Lazio, and look unlikely to qualify for next season's Champions League.
Some believe Inter should have strengthened their squad in January to help their push for a top-three place, but Ranieri said: "There's no point you asking me about what the club did or didn't do in January.
"This is who we've got now and it's up to the coach to get as much out of them as possible. If I always field the best formation available it's because I can't do any differently."
On the sale of Thiago Motta to Paris St Germain, he added: "You can't hold onto a player who calls the president every day to say he wants to leave."