CHELSEA boss Frank Lampard has told critics to lay off Mason Mount and focus on his talent instead.
The 21-year-old has copped abuse online and from a section of Blues fans for his performances this season.
And there are calls for him to be dropped from England's first team with Jack Grealish waiting in the wings.
But Lampard launched a stern defence of his rising star after his assist in Chelsea's 2-1 win at Rennes on Tuesday night.
The Blues boss said: "I have a good relationship with Mason. Not as close as some people think and he knows that I'm there if he wants any guidance.
'With Mason there's been talk and it's got to go away. I'm lucky to know him well at Derby in his breakthrough season in the Championship and he's been outstanding with the way he works off the ball.
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"I'm not going to undermine that and he has all the attributes to arrive high up the pitch and score more goals and make more assists."
Mount laid on a brilliant assist for Callum Hudson-Odoi in the Champions League win last night.
And the Blues bagged a late win with a stoppage time goal from Olivier Giroud to seal their place in the knockout stages.
Lampard added: "It's the modern world with social media and for me the way Mason plays he knows how good he is. We all have opinions. Let's talk about how good Mason is and let's let him get on with it.
"The assist like he made tonight was top-class. I've got good options in midfield and you see Kai Havertz doing well despite being in isolation and we have to keep competition high in that area.
"I'm very happy to qualify with two games to spare. It was a really tough match, they're a very good team.
“Their recent form doesn't reflect how good they are, it was a tough hard-fought win.”