Inter Milan coach Andrea Stramaccioni has hit back at critics who have accused the club of bullying Dutch international playmaker Wesley Sneijder over a contract dispute.
The midfielder has been left out of the side recently and was again absent for Sunday's 1-0 win over Palermo in Serie A, with media reports saying he had been told to accept a pay cut or face being sold.
Stramaccioni, who has won plaudits for reviving third-placed Inter after poor spells under predecessors Rafael Benitez and Claudio Ranieri, said it was stupid to talk of bullying a player who earns as much as Sneijder.
"We should be careful about using the word 'bullying' when an ordinary worker earning 1,000 euros a month might hear it. That's my opinion," the Inter coach told reporters.
"As regards Sneijder I don't think there has been any type of violence, abuse or discrimination."
According to media reports, the Dutchman earns around six million euros a year.
Stramaccioni denied he had been forced by the club to drop Sneijder, saying he alone made the decisions regarding team selection.
"I have the right to choose who I want to play and at the moment I see better players for me to pick," the coach said.
"I'm the Inter coach and I'm in complete harmony with my president [Massimo Moratti]. I will make my decisions but let's not talk about bullying please."
Inter's victory on Sunday, achieved with a 74th-minute own goal from Santiago Garcia, lifted them within four points of leaders Juventus.
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