Andre Villas-Boas has 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 on Friday, 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.
“It’s the most normal thing and all of them expect to play.
“This is part of the day-to-day life on management.
“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 Champions League game at Bayern Munich.
Villas-Boas refused to be drawn on the controversy this afternoon, 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. It’s up to Man City to deal with the situation.
“Everybody has to deal with their own problems.”
Villas-Boas was also reluctant to provide details on how Chelsea would deal with a similar alleged revolt.
Revealing he had never been put in that position, the former Porto boss said: “If that happens, we will have to look at the situation and we will have to set up a pattern of coherence in the actions that we do.”
With Chelsea’s Barclays Premier League trip to Bolton on Sunday coming just four days after their match in Valencia, 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.
“In terms of fitness, he is ready,” Villas-Boas said of the striker, who marked his comeback against Swansea on Saturday with a goal after coming off the bench.
“He’s on top form, so he’s available for selection. We just have to decide what we want strategically for the game.”
Daniel Sturridge is also set for a recall after shaking off a knee problem that forced him from the field in the Carling Cup win over Fulham just over a week ago.
“He’ll be up for selection,” said Villas-Boas.
“He’s, of course, a player we trust.”
Sturridge spent the second half of last season on loan at Bolton, where Chelsea have won on their last eight visits without conceding a goal.
They will be expected to beat the side currently propping up the table and close what could be a six-point gap to Manchester United and Manchester City, who play Norwich and Blackburn on Saturday, respectively.