Football

'Fantastic' Frank has Chelsea future

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Andre Villas-Boas insists midfielder Frank Lampard has a future at Chelsea, despite being left out of the side which beat Valencia in the Champions League last night.

Didier Drogba's brace and a near-post finish from Ramires was enough to secure a vital 3-0 win against their La Liga opponents, with England veteran Lampard watching on from the bench as Raul Meireles got the start ahead of his teammate.

It was a second disappointment in four days for the 33-year-old after he was substituted off midway through the second-half of the 3-0 win at Newcastle on Saturday, but Villas-Boas unsurprisingly insists that Lampard remains a vital part of his side at Stamford Bridge.

"Frank has been fantastic. We have to select 11 and he wasn't in this 11. Important players have been left out at Chelsea, players of immense talent," said the former Porto boss post-match.

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

Focusing on the result itself, AVB was understandably delighted to finish top of the Group E table after Bayer Leverkusen failed to win against Racing Genk in Belgium.

The outcome will see the Blues avoid the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the first knockout round, and Villas-Boas believed the performance showed a number of key characteristics that answered many of the club's critics.

"Finishing top of the group is fantastic. It is against all odds. Nobody would have put a bet on us finishing top but it has happened and it is very satisfying," he added.

"The team was excellent. It was a win of human values, team spirit, solidarity, responsibility, strength of character, resilience, ability to take criticism."

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Topics:
Football
Chelsea
Premier League
UEFA Champions League

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