Lampard and Villas-Boas
Are Chelsea's squad really to blame for Villas-Boas' departure, or are there deeper issues at hand? PA

Andre Villas-Boas has said that he has a "good and fantastic" relationship with Frank Lampard.

The Chelsea manager has also insisted that Lampard is not available for sale at any price and that the reports suggesting otherwise are speculative.

"Frank is our player and he is not available at any price. A recent story came from the Manchester newspapers and it was very speculative. My relationship with Frank is good, fantastic, and we see each other and we speak every day. He is not in and out of the team on rotation. There is no such thing," Villas-Boas has told the official Chelsea website.

While admitting that he understands every player's desire to feature in every game, Villas-Boas has said that the practice is to decide on an 11 that is strong for every game and an 11 that can help in the strategy to try to win the game. "We decide strategically every game what is best for the team. Players have different characteristics," the Portuguese manager has said.

"For Frank and the player that he is and the history that he represents, he also wants to be involved every time but everybody is competing for a place. His talent and his abilities are never in doubt," he added.

Lampard has plenty of chances to continue his involvement, having scored in both matches so far 2012, according to Villas-Boas. "Frank is the fifth or sixth most used player in Chelsea this season and of the players ahead of him, one is a goalkeeper and another is John Terry," he said.

Lampard has already scored 10 goals for the club since the season started.

There have been several reports of an alleged stand-off between the Chelsea manager and some senior players. Villas-Boas' refusal to acknowledge the contribution of Frank Lampard, who scored the late winner against Wolverhampton Wanderers recently, at the post-match media briefing too added to speculations that all was not well in the Chelsea dressing room