Lampard: Villas-Boas was obsessed with long term plans for Chelsea

Blues' midfielder believes his former manager was too focused on the future at the expense of immediate priorities, and has highlighted his frustrations at being left on the bench

Frank Lampard has explained that ex-Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas was too focused on long term plans at Stamford Bridge.

The Portuguese manager was recently dismissed and Lampard believes that working towards the future caused him to neglect the present.

Lampard told The Sun: "The boss was an intelligent fella and very across everything. In his short time at Chelsea, he attempted to do everything right. He was there from seven in the morning until seven at night and maybe through the night.

"He was looking to the future and his plan was long-term. But somewhere in the middle of that, the present didn't go so well — and that's where the problems came.

"It became the thing that Chelsea needed a revolution and to move out the older players. To be fair to AVB, that was part of the remit and I get that we need to move on and change.

"But you can't lose sight of the present, as a team like Chelsea, with the quality we have, can't be fifth in the league. We should be pushing higher and there's a lot of strength in our squad which you can hold up against any in the Premier League.

"You can't force change. It has to be a more careful process."

Lampard was forced to spend more time on the bench during Villas-Boas’ tenure but is certain he can continue his career in the way that players like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs have managed to do at Manchester United.

"If young players are coming through, who deserve to be in the team, I have no problem with that and would stand aside. But they have to earn their place and show they deserve to be in.

"I know I can't play every game. But I look at Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs and see no reason why I can't play on as long as them."

The England midfielder admitted his relationship with AVB was 'not ideal' and this came to a head when he was dropped for the first leg of the last 16 Champions League tie with Napoli.

He added: "It wasn't just me left out but Ashley Cole as well. That is the sort of game where you want your experienced players in. The manager and I had a conversation, though I wasn't disrespectful. I just told him I thought I should be playing.

"I wouldn't be me and I wouldn't have got this far in football if I had said 'OK, no problem, I'll sit on the bench, have a jolly time and pick up my wages.

"I told him what I felt and he had no problem with me saying it. I did say our relationship wasn't ideal and it's true it wasn't fantastic.

"I've had closer relationships with other managers. But what I was also trying to get across is that's not important. What is important is the group.

"I wasn't making a stand. The fact we might not have seen eye to eye was irrelevant to me."

Despite this, Lampard confirmed that he and Villas-Boas did exchange messages upon his departure, and he has rubbished claims that the team should not have been playing so badly.

"I didn't see the manager after he left but I sent him a message wishing him all the best and, yes, he did send me one back. He didn't blank me.

"He thanked me for being a top professional, which I appreciated. A lot of people think the players didn't play for him or respond. We did but it just didn't work out and the team didn't play well enough.

"I've heard the argument we shouldn't have been playing that badly. But there has to be a catalyst to a change in form and it has come with Robbie [Roberto Di Matteo] in charge.

"It happens a lot when a team changes the manager. You saw it at Liverpool when Roy Hodgson left and Kenny Dalglish came in.

"It might not be working for whatever reason and it might be no one's fault but as soon as a new man takes over, the crowd is lifted and results change."

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich addressed the players after firing Villas-Boas, and Lampard has played up the impact this has had on the squad.

"Anyone at any club will tell you that when the owner turns up you jump a bit.

"Roman hadn't been to the training ground in quite a while and the Press made a lot of it, which was understandable in the circumstances.

"He obviously wasn't happy with us and I agree with that.

"He's right to say 'I'm the owner and I expect a level of play higher than we're getting'. No one can argue with that, nor would they. You need that pressure at a top club."

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