Frank Lampard wants Didier Drogba to stay and fight for his place at Chelsea.
The Ivory Coast striker was axed by boss Luiz Felipe Scolari for Wednesday's FA Cup replay against Southend amid suggestions that his career with the Blues is effectively over.
He was not included in the squad for the game which Chelsea won 4-1, however assistant first-team coach Ray Wilkins insisted the player remains a ''valuable member'' of the set-up.
Drogba was made to train with the reserves yesterday, on the back of his poor performance in the 3-0 mauling by Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.
But Chelsea will not consider selling Drogba until he starts to shine for them and there is little chance of him leaving during the current transfer window.
England midfielder Lampard now wants Drogba to use the snub as a catalyst to regain his place in Scolari's affections and stay at the club.
''It's the manager's prerogative to leave players out,'' said Lampard. ''Every manager I've played under, and I've played under some top managers, has the right to drop someone, put them on the bench, rest them, whatever.
''Didier is a very big personality and player at this club and he will take it in the right way, I'm sure.
''Hopefully he will remain a massive part of this club because he's definitely one of (the best), if not the best, strikers in the world. You always want those sort of people around.''
Drogba is the first victim of Scolari's get-tough policy but the Brazilian coach also unleashed a scathing assessment of his under-performing stars prior to their visit to Roots Hall.
Yet Lampard maintains that Scolari has every right to voice his opinion about their poor performances.
''Any time at any club there will be some players at the top of their game and some that aren't,'' said Lampard.
''The manager didn't pick on anyone individually. The manager was just explaining how it's been. We're not here to pick out certain individuals, we've all had our patches where we've not played at our best.
''It's important the team stays strong and against Southend we showed a good spirit and team ethic. This is what we need to show from now on. I don't think it's a problem - we're all men. When you're a professional at a team like Chelsea and play below par or make a mistake, you have to accept it yourself.
''If the manager criticises you, you have to understand that. There is not a problem with it at all.
''If you want to cry about the manager saying you're playing below par - you have to look at yourself first. That is what every player has to do and is doing. The response was fantastic and we need to carry on from that.''
The omens did not look too good for Scolari's own future when Southend took a surprise lead last night but goals from Michael Ballack, Salomon Kalou, Nicolas Anelka and Lampard destroyed the home side's dream of a cup shock and helped Chelsea restore their pride.
Suggestions of a rift between the players and Scolari were rejected by England left-back Ashley Cole, who said the team's fightback epitomised just how much the squad is prepared to battle for their boss.
''We fought for the manager and for each other because at the end of the day we are the ones who have been letting ourselves down,'' said Cole. ''I don't know if he [Scolari] is feeling the pressure, but a lot of people are trying to blame him, which is wrong.
''We go out every week and we are the ones letting down the fans and the manager. It's about us stepping up and against Southend we did.
''If we don't perform, people blame the manager, but it's down to us, we take full responsibility for results.''
Chelsea's victory, which set up a home fourth-round tie against Coca-Cola Championship side Ipswich, came at a cost as England midfielder Joe Cole limped out of the game with an injury to the back of his knee.
The club are unsure of the nature of the problem and are awaiting the results of a scan.