LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Frank Lampard of Chelsea celebrates following the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Bolton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge on February 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
So despite Chelsea's fairly routine 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers this weekend, it seems like we can't escape what many are portraying as a negative story. Frank Lampard, who captained the Blues for the 50th time, had shared quotes that I've seen described as pretty controversial. Here they are:
I think, from the outside, you can probably see that [the relationship between myself and Andre Villas-Boas has] not been ideal but the important thing is not to focus on individual relationships too much. It can only be negative and people do like to play on negatives.
I've been here a long time, I'm 33, I'm realistic. It doesn't mean I want to play every game but, if I sit on the bench, I want to see Chelsea win. I'm sure we're all frustrated at the minute, everyone who's involved - especially people who have got Chelsea in their hearts, who have been here a long time and want to see us performing as we should do.
The only way we can push on from now - and secure Champions League football next year, potentially move through in the FA Cup and the Champions League this year - is to be positive. It's in the club's interest. It's not about any one individual here and negative things can take the shine off it.
Call me crazy, but this seems relatively harmless. We know Lampard wants to play more, we know he's not happy on the bench, and we know his relationship with Villas-Boas is strained. Lampard's not sugar-coating anything, which is sometimes not what people want to hear, but it's all more or less true. Beyond that, he's even admitting that he can't play in every match - but that he, like everyone else at the club, wants to see Chelsea successful.
This isn't really an attack on Villas-Boas's authority so much as an admission that things aren't right between the two, which is fine - the manager said more or less the same thing a while back as well, implicating Lampard even if he didn't mention him by name. This just feels like a storm in a teacup to me, and one would hope that quotes in the media wouldn't have much impact on the relationship between the pair. Both are professionals, and in order to hold one another's respect, they'll have to perform well. Both managed it today, so there doesn't appear to be much to worry about.