London: Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas feels Frank Lampard will soon return to the starting line-up, after seeing the midfielder walk away towards the end of the match against Swansea City on Saturday.
The Blues' boss preferred to replace Raul Meireles with youngster Josh McEachran in the 83rd minute, leaving the England international as an unused substitute during the 4-1 win at Stamford Bridge. And the 33-year-old left the bench and headed for the tunnel prior to the end of the game, giving rise to some speculation concerning his future.
"I don’t know [why he left his seat early] but this is nothing to speculate about," Villas-Boas said, according to The Mail on Sunday.
Lampard walked away towards the end of the match against Swansea after being left as an unused substitute.
"They are team players and the players want the team to perform, and Frank is like that. He is a fantastic player, a magnificent player and soon he will be back to the team - sooner than you expect."
"The decisions today were mainly based on the fact we played 120 minutes [in the League Cup] on Wednesday and these players were fresh, apart from John Terry and Petr Cech. In a tight calendar like we have, it’s important to have squad rotation."
Chelsea now travel to play Valencia at the Mestalla on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers has claimed that his former club colleague Lampard will continue to shine into his late 30s like Inter star Javier Zanetti.
Lampard was left on the bench for the third time in four games against Swansea and was substituted at half-time in the fourth, the 3-1 defeat against Manchester United.
But former Chelsea reserve team manager Rodgers is confident that Lampard still has much to offer at the highest level.
Asked whether the years were finally catching up with the experienced midfielder, the Swansea manager told reporters: "Knowing him very well, not at all. I think he will be a bit like [38-year-old] Zanetti at Inter Milan and keep going in a variety of positions and continue to score goals."
"He is a brilliant professional and maybe other players who are 33 who are not in his conditon and who have not looked after themselves so well would be towards the end. But he still has big ambitions to play and continue to score goals."
"I was not surprised he didn't play. I only assume it was looking towards the Valencia game. He came on in mid-week and maybe played for longer than they expect, and the idea was to rest him for Wednesday. Certainly, you know when he is not in the team that he is a player who can hurt you by scoring goals."
Rodgers also had warm words for Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, who was sent off for a two-footed lunge on Mark Gower shortly after expertly scoring the opener.
"I don't think he is a malicious player," he said. "The ball got away from Mark Gower and he probably feels it was there to win. He was trying to show he is fighting for everything at the moment. It was probably the intent that got him sent off."
Rodgers was left to reflect on a result that he could not argue with.
"The best team won, to be fair," he said. "I'm not going to sit here and say we deserved to win the game. But I'm proud of the players once again."