Man United 2 Chelsea 1: Blues ‘couldn’t drop £50m Torres’

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Carlo Ancelotti's decision to start the misfiring striker was all about the money

Sir Alex Ferguson believes the pressure of Fernando Torres’ £50m price-tag left Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti with no choice but to start the misfiring striker in Tuesday night’s Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford.

Goals from Javier Hernández and Park Ji-sung gave Ferguson’s men a 2-1 victory on the night and a comfortable 3-1 aggregate win to take them into the semi-finals for the fourth time in five years.

Torres, who is yet to find the net since moving to Stamford Bridge, endured a torrid 45 minutes and was replaced by Didier Drogba at half-time.

And the United manager believes the striker only featured because of the large sum spent on acquiring his services in January.

“A lot of people thought Drogba would play,” said Ferguson. “I thought having signed Torres for the money they did they had to play him. I wasn’t 100 per cent sure but I couldn’t see how they could leave Torres out.”

Ancelotti, however, insisted the decision to include the goal-shy Spaniard on Tuesday night was purely a tactical one.

“I told you a lot of times this season I wanted to start with Fernando for this kind of game, these type of tactics,” said the Chelsea boss.

“Didier played well in the second half. I wanted to put more pressure up front because we needed to score. Didier was fresh and he could use his power up front. This was the reason I took out Fernando.”

Ferguson, meanwhile, is backing the Spain forward to rediscover his goalscoring touch at Stamford Bridge. He continued: “They had the opportunity to sign Torres and I don’t think anyone would have turned it down.

“Everyone said at the time it was fantastic business. You can’t criticise him [Ancelotti] for that, it was a good signing. It isn’t working at the moment but he is a young man and there are other seasons ahead.

“Torres has played against us quite a few times and he had a little goal spell at Old Trafford and got a goal at Anfield but we’ve actually done all right against him.

“It’s made out that he’s tortured us. He’s a good player but with [Nemanja] Vidic’s experience and [Rio] Ferdinand’s experience they should be able to handle the best players in the world. They are in that sphere of being top players themselves.

Erling Haaland
'He's not a fit': Michael Owen warns Liverpool FC against signing Erling Haaland
BT Sport pundit Joe Cole (Photo: BT Sport)
'His touch is velvet': Joe Cole lavishes praise on Chelsea FC star Reece James
Paul Pogba
Team news: The three Man United players who will definitely miss the trip to Chelsea FC
Michael Owen
Michael Owen reveals his prediction for Arsenal v Newcastle United
Reece James
Reece James salutes ‘very humble’ Thomas Tuchel after Chelsea FC’s flying start to the season
Erling Haaland
'He's not a fit': Michael Owen warns Liverpool FC against signing Erling Haaland
BT Sport pundit Joe Cole (Photo: BT Sport)
'His touch is velvet': Joe Cole lavishes praise on Chelsea FC star Reece James
Paul Pogba
Team news: The three Man United players who will definitely miss the trip to Chelsea FC
Michael Owen
Michael Owen reveals his prediction for Arsenal v Newcastle United
Reece James
Reece James salutes ‘very humble’ Thomas Tuchel after Chelsea FC’s flying start to the season
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature