FRANK Lampard today admitted for the first time his relationship with Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas had "not been ideal".
Speculation has been rife of a conflict between midfield star Lampard and Villas-Boas virtually all season, with the former unhappy about the number of games he has sat out.
Today was the first time either had openly admitted their relationship had become strained, although Lampard did not want to dwell on any problems the pair might have had.
He said of their relationship: "I think, from the outside, you can probably see that it's not been ideal but the important thing is not to focus on individual relationships too much.
"It can only be negative and people do like to play on negatives."
Speculation about dressing-room unrest has been rife of late, amid reports Lampard was not the only senior player who did not see eye to eye with Villas-Boas.
Lampard added: "There have been certain issues. Certain players, we don't like not to play.
"But it's never a case of players throwing their toys out of the pram to the detriment of the club."
Lampard has been in and out of the Chelsea side all season but suggested he should have been given more game time during the five-match winless run he helped end today.
"I've been here a long time, I'm 33, I'm realistic," he said after scoring the 150th league goal of his career in the Blues' Barclays Premier League victory over Bolton.
"It doesn't mean I want to play every game but, if I sit on the bench, I want to see Chelsea win.
"I'm sure we're all frustrated at the minute, everyone who's involved, especially people who have got Chelsea in their hearts, who have been here a long time and want to see us performing as we should do."
He added: "The only way we can push on from now and secure Champions League football next year, potentially move through in the FA Cup and the Champions League this year, is to be positive.
"It's in the club's interest. It's not about any one individual here and negative things can take the shine off it."