Carlo Ancelotti has insisted he wants to keep Joe Cole at Chelsea but he will not guarantee the midfielder a permanent place in the side.
The England international's current contract expires in the summer and talks over a new deal have yet to reach a conclusion.
It was reported earlier this month that Cole's wage demands were a stumbling block but it now appears his main concern is not playing regularly.
Ancelotti believes it would be wrong to make unrealistic promises to any player but is confident the 28-year-old will remain at Stamford Bridge.
"No, I cannot guarantee to Joe Cole that he'll play for Chelsea in every game," said the Blues manager. "I cannot guarantee that to any of my players.
"I never guarantee that to my players, even the big players. How can a manager guarantee that to the players? That's impossible.
"I don't have any news on his contract. He will stay at Chelsea next year. I'm 100 per cent clear.
"I don't like to speak about him all the time. He will be in the squad for next year, as I say."
Cole has been in and out of the Chelsea team since returning from injury in September and he will not start Saturday's FA Cup clash with Preston.
Ancelotti prefers to alternate between Cole and Deco but he maintains that the England man is an integral member of the squad.
"It's my aim. It's the aim of the club to keep him in the squad because Joe Cole is an important player, a very professional player, he has a lot of quality and is young," said Ancelotti.
"He is a player of the national team. He is English. For these reasons, we want to keep him in the squad.
"But I want to keep out maybe Joe Cole and Florent Malouda tomorrow. The team will be: Hilario, Ferreira, Alex, Terry, Zhirkov, Belletti, Ballack, Lampard, Deco, Anelka and Sturridge.
"I think that we have all the players available to play. Only Ashley Cole is out because he has a problem with his ankle."