No guarantees for Lampard

ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS yesterday declared he would not grant Frank Lampard’s wish to play every game for Chelsea, revealing the midfielder must continue to fight for his place in the side.

Lampard this week admitted he was unhappy at being rotated in and out of the Blues’ starting XI since Villas-Boas took charge, claiming he always played better when given a run of matches.

But Villas-Boas was not for turning yesterday, saying: “The situation with every player in the world is that everybody wants to play and everybody wants to feel part of a team.

“But in squads of 25, 26 players, there are always the people who want to go back into the team.

“Frank, like other players, is fighting for his place and he’s been involved in almost every game.”

After starting three of Chelsea’s previous four matches on the bench, Lampard was recalled on Wednesday night for the 1-1 Champions League draw at Valencia.

Villas-Boas is bound to leave the midfielder out again at some point but, at least when he does, he will not need to worry about his fellow 33-year-old turning on him.

Indeed, there could hardly have been a greater contrast this week between Lampard’s response to his recent lack of action and the alleged behaviour of Carlos Tevez.

Manchester City striker Tevez is currently serving a two-week suspension for disobeying manager Roberto Mancini’s instructions during Tuesday night’s European tie at Bayern Munich.

Villas-Boas refused to be drawn on the controversy yesterday, saying: “When it’s not my business and I’m not in full control of the information, I cannot emit an opinion because that opinion might be false.It’s nothing to do with me.’’

With Chelsea’s Premier League trip to Bolton tomorrow coming just four days after their match in Spain, Villas-Boas might be tempted to leave out Lampard. However, the international break immediately follows the game at the Reebok, which might mean there is less of a concern about lingering fatigue.

“We have plenty of time to recover, so I think, physically, the team will respond accordingly,” said Villas-Boas, who will be forced into at least one change with Fernando Torres beginning a three-match domestic ban.

Didier Drogba looks certain to start for the first time since suffering a sickening head injury more than a month ago, while Daniel Sturridge is also back in the squad after shaking off a knee problem.

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