Lampard in my plans - Villas-Boas

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Stamford Bridge
Frank Lampard
Lampard moved to Chelsea from West Ham for £11m in 2001

Manager Andre Villas-Boas insists Frank Lampard still has a major part to play in Chelsea's future despite being dropped for the Champions League win against Valencia at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard was an unused substitute as Chelsea won 3-0 to reach the last 16.

But Villas-Boas said the 33-year-old England midfielder is in contention to face Manchester City on Monday.

"Frank has been fantastic. We have to select 11 and he wasn't in this 11," said Villas-Boas.

"Important players have been left out at Chelsea, players of immense talent."

Lampard was dropped after being substituted in the 3-0 win at Newcastle United, with Villas-Boas opting for Raul Meireles, Ramires and Oriol Romeu in midfield against Valencia.

Villas-Boas explained: "He has been in a fantastic moment and is sure to threaten for the starting 11 on Monday.

"He is one of the greatest players in the world but this choice was three players in midfield because of their technical ability to keep possession and keep it on the ground without a lot of long balls.

"We know that Frank can also do this but he was not our choice for this game.

"He will come back in the future certainly. He has been fantastic in the way he has taken these tough decisions."

Villas-Boas kept faith with another of Chelsea's old guard Didier Drogba - and the striker rewarded him by scoring twice and creating the other goal for Ramires.

Drogba, 33, said: "There was a lot of pressure but, when you start the group stage, you know you have to play until the last day.

"We had a chance to finish top [of the group] and our attitude was positive. We wanted to get the result. The pressure can sometimes be positive and it was in this game."

The Ivorian is out of contract in the summer and is believed to be holding out for a two-year dealexternal-link.

But he says the crucial thing is helping Chelsea move up from fourth in the Premier League table.

He added: "My future is not important. The most important thing is to put the team back in the position we want to be in - at the top of the Premier League.

"We are not happy where we are now."

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