Friday, July 22, 2011

Chelsea boss tells media: Lay off misfiring Torres

Andre Villas-Boas last night warned Fernando Torres is becoming a national "obsession."
Villas-Boas gave a passionate defence of Chelsea's misfiring £50million striker after Torres failed to hit the target and looked short of confidence in their 1-0 win over a Malaysia XI.

It was left to Didier Drogba - courtesy of a deflection and a dodgy goal-line decision - to bail out the Premier League giants.

Torres was among those substituted as Villas-Boas made 11 half-time changes.

It must now be a major concern whether the Spaniard, who managed just one goal in 18 games after joining from Liverpool in January, will be able to rediscover the world class form he has shown in the past for Spain and at club level.

But Villas-Boas was keen not to focus too much on his goal-shy striker in an effort to take the pressure off his shoulders and claimed his only obsession is to win trophies.

"I wouldn't turn it into an obsession, like you people are trying to," he said. "The most important thing for us is to score and win.

"I disagree [that Torres is lacking confidence]. Every time a player doesn't score, you ask questions about him.

"Individual objectives don't play a part - in training or a game, particularly in pre-season.

"I do not want there to be an obsession with this.

"My obsession is to win trophies with this team and take this team to success.

"If you want me to address it individually, I'd prefer to address it as a forward sector and focus on people gaining confidence to find the back of the net.

"That comes with training, patience and tolerance, which it looks like he doesn't have at this moment. But we, at Chelsea, are ready to give our forwards this kind of patience.

"Whoever scores doesn't matter. The most important thing is to win games. These are pre-season games and they don't have the importance that people think up.

"The importance of these games is to get a feel for your team and achieve the objectives you feel in training.

"The focus is purely on the individual and not the performance of the team, which is more important. You know the importance that the collective has for me. I'm not going to lose time over this.

"Things will happen naturally. In Chelsea, every player is competitive to be successful and the best players in training will go into the game and help the team be successful."

Sadly for Villas-Boas, Torres' record-breaking pricetag will guarantee that his every move will be under the microscope because you expect big results for that kind of money.

Drogba, Chelsea's tried and tested striker, still looks far more dangerous than his more expensive fellow forward.

Now Villas-Boas must find a way of playing them together if he wants to continue to try to make Torres a success - after paying out £50m, you would expect owner Roman Abramovich to want to see it work.

The Portuguese insists that will not be a problem, even though his strike force looked unbalanced and was far more dangerous in the second half after Drogba, Daniel Sturridge and Nicolas Anelka came on.

Villas-Boas said: "We go back to the other question. Again, the question of Fernando not scoring and the question of Fernando and Drogba not scoring is an obsession for people at the moment.

"They will perform for the team, eventually, good enough for the team to be successful. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

"If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. It's a decision of the technical staff. We approach the game in a 4-3-3 - a modern system [that] we defend.

"The players have had to absorb so many new ideas in a short period of time, so the ideas from these games are more from us than you guys [in the media].

"We understand your perspective. The most important thing is to continue to build for Stoke [Chelsea's first Premier League game]."

The Chelsea players looked leggy and struggled in the heat and humidity in Kuala Lumpur and their performance will raise one or two early questions about whether the squad is good enough to win the title.

But Villas-Boas insisted he has absolute faith in all of his players to deliver major trophies next season - although he warned it will be the "end of the world" if they don't.

"I have to be confident," he said. "We have to be successful again. Bringing back trophies to this club is very important.

"It is not a long time since this club was successful, with the FA Cup and Premier League two years ago, but the challenge is to bring them back.

"It will be the end of the world for us if we don't get trophies. Things are like that at a top club like this."

It was Drogba who benefited from the decision to change the team completely at the break, his long-range free-kick hitting the post, rebounding off the keeper and trickling goalwards.

It did not look as if it actually crossed the line though, and even Drogba admitted: "I think we were a bit lucky. I don't think the ball went in.

"It was very tough and hot out there, so we're pleased to win."

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