Rafael Benitez insisted on Friday that Frank Lampard was not being discarded by Chelsea because he was past his best.
Interim manager Benitez claimed the Stamford Bridge decision-makers who have halted contract talks with the England midfielder had no doubt about "his condition, his levels, his quality".
His wage, age, 34, and recent injury record might come into consideration when debating a new deal but Benitez told BBC Sport: "For sure, he's a fantastic player, a great professional - there's no doubt about this. Also, when I talk to the people in charge, they are telling me the same, so nobody has any doubt about his condition, his levels, his quality. So the decision could be analysing different things, not just the quality of the player."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2012, All Rights Reserved.