Luciano Spalletti has played down Edin Dzeko's reaction after he was substituted in Roma's 4-1 win over Pescara on Monday, saying they patched things up in the dressing room.
Dzeko, 31, was replaced by Clement Grenier midway through the second half with Roma already leading 4-0 at the Stadio Adriatico. As he left the field, he made angry gestures toward Spalletti and proceeded directly to the dressing room without sitting on the bench.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina international is level with Torino's Andrea Belotti on 25 goals at the top of the Serie A scoring charts this season and may have been frustrated at not being given more time to score.
Spalletti, however, says he was just trying to keep his striker sharp for the final few games of the season.
"We hugged and made up in the dressing room," Spalletti told Mediaset. "I've just seen the pictures now and I see he was a bit angry -- I guess we're just lucky he didn't come and sit on the bench with us.
"I took him off because he is the only centre-forward I've got and I don't want to have to do without him in the coming games. I really don't have many options up front and I need to manage my resources."
Spalletti was supported by Radja Nainggolan, who told Mediaset that the coach's decisions "must be respected," although he said he could "understand Edin on the one hand" as he is "playing such a good season and was desperate to score again today."
Roma face rivals Lazio on Sunday and Spalletti will be keen to have Dzeko firing on all cylinders in the Rome derby, not least with his second-placed side having a four-point cushion over third-placed Napoli to protect over the final five games of the season.
Victory in that fixture is more important than scoring an extra goal in Pescara, according to Stephan El Shaarawy, who set up three on Monday night.
"Dzeko was angry because he didn't score and we know how much scoring means to him," he told Mediaset. "His reaction is understandable, but you've always got to respect the coach's decisions. Let's just hope he keeps all this anger for the derby because we really do need him and his goals."
Beating Lazio would all but mathematically secure Roma a place in the Champions League next season and the likelihood of Spalletti remaining as their coach is also increasing.
He had previously hinted that he would leave if he is unable to deliver a trophy this season and with eight points to make up on Serie A leaders Juventus, he looks unlikely to succeed.
Nevertheless, the club's sporting director Frederic Massara is confident Spalletti will be convinced to stay on after bringing consistently good results since replacing Rudi Garcia 15 months ago.
"He's always been clear about wanting to focus on the end of the season and the results are arriving," Massara told reporters. "We're only behind a really strong Juve side and since Spalletti arrived last year, we've been doing extraordinary things.
"We'll evaluate everything when the season ends, but the coach's work has been excellent. He's managed to get the best out of many players and brought through a few others. We're very pleased to work with him and let's hope we can continue together."