Frank Lampard has done little to dispel the tension in his relationship with manager Andre Villas-Boas by making a resounding plea not to be left out of the Chelsea team again having scored the winning goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday.
Chelsea's 2-1 victory came amid another flurry of stories about differences between Villas-Boas and senior players. In the case of Lampard, it is understood that player and manager are in complete disagreement over the former's desire to play every game.
Lampard has stopped short of publicly criticising Villas-Boas, but he made it clear that he believes he should be starting the important games.
Before the Wolves match, Lampard had played 90 minutes in just one of Chelsea's previous six games – against Wigan. He was left on the bench against Valencia and Tottenham; was a substitute against Manchester City and Aston Villa and was substituted himself against Fulham.
After Monday's game there was little love lost between Villas-Boas and Lampard in their post-match interviews, with neither offering the other any form of public backing. Asked why he had not looked happy of late, Lampard said: "I like to play football games and I like to play 90 minutes. I know what I can do. I've been here many years as part of a successful team and I like to play. I can't hide that and I don't think the manager would expect anything more from me. He's the boss, he picks the team and when I play I feel I can do things like I did [against Wolves]. And I'll keep trying to do them. Then I'll smile more."
On the stories of disharmony in the dressing room, Lampard said that it was the responsibility of the big players to get the team through a bad run. He said: "We've been here before. There's always a big spotlight on Chelsea. When the results go the way they have done, people talk that way. It's very important the big players in the dressing room stand up."
The 33-year-old rejected the suggestion that he is no longer deserving of a place in the Chelsea team. "[When the time comes] I'll certainly hold my hands up and say I want to change and get in there [the penalty area] less but when I'm playing regularly I feel like I can do it."
Lampard's attitude was different to the more conciliatory tone of John Terry, who contacted the Evening Standard personally yesterday to make it clear that there is no rift between him and Villas-Boas. Terry said that he was "100 per cent behind the manager".Reuse content