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Mar 2, 2012

AVB again denies Lampard rift

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas has once more denied there has been any breakdown in his relationship with Frank Lampard.

• Luiz denies Lampard criticism
• Villas-Boas: I fear sack

Lampard has admitted he his relationship with Villas-Boas is "not ideal", and indicated that he is not alone in having problems with the Portuguese.

"It's just a manager-player relationship in the end,'' Villas-Boas said. "Frank's words are genuine. They are genuine from a player that has a reflection of a relationship between us. 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. 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. They are decisions I have to take for the benefit of the team, always.

"He's a legend of the football club. If they chant his name during the whole game, it's because he represents exactly that. He achieved two great individual records in that game and I think he fully deserves it.

"I hope one day to have the curriculum that Frank has at this football club, which is amazing in terms of trophies. If that is the case, that means that I will be a successful manager and my shadow will be lurking over other managers of this football club.''

Villas-Boas also delivered a spiky retort to the media at Friday's press conference as he answered questions over a recent radio interview during which he hinted he feared for his future at Chelsea.

Villas-Boas was quoted as saying earlier in the week: "We are now in the exact same moment as last year. It is an exact copy. The pattern of behaviour of the owner has led to a [manager's] downfall in similar situations or even 'better' situations.

"What will be the reaction? It will be one of the two, a continuation of the project and full support or just the cultural pattern that has happened before. We don't know."

Unsurprisingly, Villas-Boas' comments were splashed across the back pages of the national newspapers in England, with the Chelsea boss under increasing pressure to deliver results. His team could be heading out of Europe, they are currently not in the top four, and they face a tricky FA Cup fifth round replay at Birmingham.

Villas-Boas has always spoken of Roman Abramovich's full confidence in his abilities as a manager, so his comments to the Portuguese press proved something of an eye-opener. However, Villas-Boas insists he said exactly the same to the British press, only to be ignored.

"I said exactly the same thing in the press conference but you guys were a bit distracted. I said exactly the same thing," Villas-Boas said. "What would be the impact of a change in the results? What would be the projection of the future? The only thing I said in the radio interview, which was open to you guys but you left, was that there was a doubt over the future, which lies in every job in our lives - in mine and in yours.

"We have to compete to be successful and everybody is more or less under threat as you look for results."

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