Fernando Torres netted a brace on his 100th start for the club against Schalke 04 in the UEFA Champions League and his manager Jose Mourinho says he’s always believed in him.
The 29-year-old has received mixed reviews since his arrivals at Stamford Bridge as there have been those that argued that he needed more help, those that bemoaned his goal-shy displays and I think everyone agrees that he’s not lived up to expectations, but Mourinho says that all the player needs is someone to have confidence in him.
“Torres is a hard worker and that is a surprise to me. He is not the kind of player that hides behind his statues or the fee Chelsea paid for him. No, he is a hard working boy.
“Even when he is not performing very well like has sometimes happened since he arrived at Chelsea, he always kept his professionalism. He has always been positive, sometimes scoring goals, but always giving his best.
“He is a player that I trust and the same is true of our other strikers. Samuel [Eto’o] played very well in the last game and Fernando played very well today so we have strikers who can work for the team and also score goals. Those two and Demba [Ba] have enough quality to play for us and to succeed for us.”
The Portuguese manager later added:
“What has boosted Fernando is the confidence I have in him. I thought Fernando was adapted to this game. I had faith in him and he did well.
“It’s good for Fernando to score goals in the Champions League. He must be happy now.”
I don’t believe Mourinho was particularly enamoured by his striking options upon his return to Stamford Bridge as Torres’ problems were well documented and Demba Ba isn’t what you’d call a top-of-the-range forward and has been labelled by many as a mere January transfer window panic buy, so it wasn’t surprising to see him move for the likes of Wayne Rooney and eventually settle for Samuel Eto’o when it became clear that he wasn’t going to land the Manchester United man.
But that’s not to say that he never had faith in Torres as he wouldn’t praise the effort he shown if he didn’t deserve it. Mourinho will also recognise the fact that Torres is the best option he has available and if Chelsea didn’t spend big on a forward in the summer then what’s there to say they will in January? He needs a big season from one of his forwards as a consistent scorer can sometimes be enough push an average side over the line (would Man United have won the title without Robin van Persie last season?).
Also, Mourinho has worked wonders with struggling forwards before, like Karim Benzema at Real Madrid and Didier Drogba went through some tough times early on in his career at Chelsea. Can he do it with Torres? He says he has faith in the forward after all.