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Stramaccioni defends Cassano reaction

The Inter coach refused to criticize the controversial forward for his conduct upon being substituted and hailed his side for getting its title bid back on track.

Andrea Stramaccioni has played down Antonio Cassano's display of anger as he came off the field during the the 2-0 victory over Pescara on Saturday.

The former AC Milan man was substituted in the 68th minute to give January signing Tommaso Rocchi his debut and appeared to be at odds with the decision as he trudged off the pitch.

But Stramaccioni claimed it was only a show of passion from the enigmatic striker, and clarified that there were no underlying tensions between the pair.

"He had every right to be disappointed as he could not take his chances. Perhaps he wanted to stay on the field for longer," he suggested after the match. "That just shows how much this club means to him. Still, I have to keep the Coppa Italia on Tuesday in mind, as well as choose the right opportunity to hand Rocchi his debut."

Inter comfortably dispatched the relegation-threatened Delfino, with goals from Rodrigo Palacio and Fredy Guarin, and Stramaccioni was delighted with the quality of the display.

"We have improved our performance level compared to recent showings," lauded the 37-year-old. "We are finding our balance, and this will be important in repeating our results from earlier this season."

The win lifts the club to third in Serie A, six points behind leader Juventus.

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