Torres’s Chelsea form is not a worry, insists Villas-Boas
Chelsea manager says he "never has concerns" about the number of goals his players are scoring
Chelsea boss AndrÃ© Villas-Boas insists he is not concerned about Fernando Torres’s stuttering form since the striker’s £50m move to Stamford Bridge from Liverpool in January.
The 27-year-old forward did not even make the bench for Spain’s clash with Liechtenstein in Las Gaunas on Tuesday, falling behind David Villa, Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Negredo in Vicente del Bosque’s pecking order.
Villas-Boas admits Torres, who has scored just once in 21 games for the Blues, needs to rediscover his confidence in front of goal, but the Chelsea coach believes he is still an important part of his squad – even if he is not finding the net.
“The talent is there, it’s a question of regaining that confidence,” said Villas-Boas ahead of his side’s trip to Sunderland on Saturday. “That comes with training and time. You just have to persist.
“For a striker, it’s not just about scoring goals, it’s also about creating opportunities and I think he’s been doing that.
“The competition that he faces in Spain and the players that he faces for that position – he knows what they are. And he knows what he faces at Chelsea. If he wasn’t selected then he just has to up the level and if he’s not selected at Chelsea then he just has to up it here.”
The Chelsea manager, whose side have taken seven points from their first three games, stressed that he is more concerned about winning matches than the form of any one player.
“I like my team to win,” he continued. “I never have concerns with the amount of goals that people score.”
Asked whether Torres was still his first-choice striker, he replied: “I don’t make first choices. I make the choice that I have to make for the game.
“You have seen Fernando play from the start against Stoke, West Brom and Norwich – and you have seen Didier [Drogba] come on for the Norwich game. We just make choices regarding what we see in training.”
And Villas-Boas dismissed suggestions that the Spain striker had lost some of the pace that made him so deadly in front of goal at Liverpool, where he scored 81 goals in 142 games.
“I don’t think [he has lost pace]. I don’t even think it’s a question because it’s related to the space that you find, to the timing of the run, to the opponent.
“Nothing [has happened to Torres]. For me, no problem. We’ve played three games and we have seven points. I think it will be a never-ending debate if we go on like this.”
Villas-Boas also hailed the arrival of Raul Meireles from Liverpool after Chelsea snapped up the Portugal midfielder from Liverpool for around £12m on transfer deadline day.
“I think it was an extremely good deal for us,” he said of the signing. “It was a very good deal for a very good player.
“He can play in different positions. He has a very good timing of arrival in the box which you saw with the goals that he scored last year.
“Raul is a player who constantly opens the line for the pass – you know that he is available there to receive the ball and that fits into the philosophy that we want to promote.”