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With Roberto di Matteo playing around with deploying Ramires in Chelsea's double pivot, there's been no place in the starting lineup for Frank Lampard as of late. We had this problem last year as well, if you recall -- Lampard isn't a big fan of not playing. How has management handled the situation?
Frank is an intelligent man and we talk. Of course nobody likes to be on the bench and not play, they will be disappointed about it.
But I hope and think he understands that. His attitude shows that he supports the team and that's very important. It's not just the business end of the season that counts.
It's a very congested fixture list. It's done on a game by game basis. In general, I look at how they are and who we play and the balance of the team has to be and so on.
-Roberto di Matteo. Source: Mirror.
By contrast, here's how Andre Villas-Boas handled the Lampard situation (possibly paraphrased):
I am Andre Villas-Boas, devilishly handsome Portuguese death machine. Do not be fretly for Frank Lampard! He is an antiquilated midfielder who would be better servicemented as a coach! Haha! Listen to the project. The project commanderates you. All hail Andre!
... no, why would I have spoken to him? You are being ludicrilous!
Something like that, anyway. I forget the details. Anyway, during the Villas-Boas days I was sure that Lampard would be ok with being on the bench as long as someone convinced him that it was for the good of the team. He's never struck me as a player who'd put himself over the needs of the club, and all it would take was a little love (not to mention on-field success) for him to be content.
Obviously, that didn't work out with Villas-Boas, but di Matteo's seemingly handling the situation much better. I'd expect Lampard to feature semi-regularly for the rest of the season, but don't count on anyone making a fuss over it. Of course, that could just be reporters saying nice things about a manager they don't mind and not so nice ones about a dude they love to pick fights with, but hey, either way works for me. It's nice to have some sanity back at the club.