David Luiz denies publicly criticising Chelsea teammate Frank Lampard

 

David Luiz today denied publicly criticising Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard in an interview with the Portuguese press.

Blues defender Luiz was quoted by O Jogo newspaper as commenting on team-mate Lampard's widely-publicised problems with manager Andre Villas-Boas.

But the 24-year-old was adamant this afternoon his words had been taken out of context and were not directed at Lampard individually but were more general in nature.

Claiming Luiz had criticised Lampard, O Jogo quoted him as saying: "No one has to be someone's father or son in a football club.

"There are no privileged people there. He simply has to listen to the coach when he gives orders and take them.

"No player can forget that they are just an employee of the club."

But Luiz tweeted this afternoon: "This is media, Frank know me, and I never said about him! I said generaly! I only talked about coaches and players in general. Always CFC."

Any perceived criticism of Lampard by Luiz would increase speculation about a split in the Chelsea dressing room between the Portuguese-speaking contingent - all of whom are reportedly 100% behind Villas-Boas - and some of their more senior team-mates.

Villas-Boas admitted earlier this month that not all his players backed his "project" to revamp an ageing squad amid what is proving a turbulent transition at Stamford Bridge.

He insisted at the time that did not matter because he had the full support of owner Roman Abramovich but he has since confessed to the first doubts about whether or not he would be sacked.

Luiz claimed Villas-Boas had been unfairly castigated, despite Chelsea being fifth in the Barclays Premier League and in danger of Champions League and FA Cup elimination.

"Last season, there were teams who were in a poor position in the table, and no one talked about it," Luiz said.

"It is a lot easier to talk about Andre, because Chelsea are a big team who always fight for the first place.

"And when they are third or fourth, it gets easy to slam the coach.

"But Andre has an immense capacity, he is an excellent person and I am sure he will have a great future at Chelsea."

Luiz, who has had an up-and-down year since moving to Stamford Bridge from Benfica, also played down talk he was a target for Barcelona.

Reports suggest Barca will turn to Luiz if they are unable to secure AC Milan's Thiago Silva this summer.

Luiz told Spanish newspaper Sport: "I would be lying if I said I know nothing.

"I am aware, not least because for months there have been constant rumours about Barca's interest.

"What I can confirm is that I have not negotiated anything and no one has submitted a concrete offer. I am 100% a Chelsea player.

"Barca are a great team that play fantastic football. Every player would love to play for Barcelona, but I am with Chelsea and I have an obligation to my club."

One player who would consider leaving this summer, on loan, is striker Romelu Lukaku.

The 18-year-old, who has made just six substitute appearances in the league since joining Chelsea from Anderlecht, has been warned he needs regular football to keep his place in the Belgium squad.

Lukaku told Voetbal International: "It is said that the clubs are lining up to loan me and that is true. I even heard that Anderlecht want me back. The club that wants me most is my preference.

"I want to be number one for Belgium, but our other strikers are not standing still. Something has to change."

Lukaku even suggested that could be the Chelsea manager, but added: "Do not get me wrong, I have no problem with Andre Villas-Boas. He is just under a lot of pressure."

Lukaku could be called upon for Saturday's game at West Brom if Didier Drogba and Daniel Sturridge both fail to recover from injury.

Drogba was forced to miss the Ivory Coast's friendly against Guinea on Tuesday with a knee problem, while Sturridge limped out of England's defeat to Holland last night with a bruised toe.

Sturridge said: "I'm going to do everything I can to make sure I'm fit for Saturday's game because I don't want to be missing any football action."

PA

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