Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has played down reports of a rift with midfielder Frank Lampard, and insists the pair have a professional relationship.

The veteran England international admitted that things had 'not been ideal' between the two of them during AVB's reign at the club, with the 34-year-old former Porto boss under intense pressure to deliver results at Stamford Bridge.

Despite a leading role in the win over Bolton last weekend, Lampard isn't guaranteed a starting spot in the Blues line-up, and Villas-Boas understands why the player hasn't always been happy with a bit-part role.

"It's just a manager-player relationship in the end. Frank's words are genuine. They are genuine from a player that has a reflection of a relationship between us," said Villas-Boas ahead of tomorrow's clash against West Brom.

"For me, it's fine, I have no problems with it. I have to choose the team and I try to choose the best team for every single game."

Villas-Boas insists his decisions are never taken on a personal basis, with the former Académica chief only ever looking to do the best for Chelsea football club.

"It hasn't involved Frank a couple of times but it doesn't mean I have a personal problem with him. His own interpretation of the relationship is his own but I have no problem with it and I explained it to him," added AVB.

"They are decisions I have to take for the benefit of the team, always."

The Blues are currently in a massive fight for fourth place, with Arsenal ahead of club in the race for the last Champions League qualifying place. With Newcastle and Liverpool also hot on their heels, victory against the Baggies could be crucial come the end of the season.

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