Mourinho sings Torres’ praises ahead of Chelsea’s clash against Atletico
Jose Mourinho singles out Fernando Torres for special praise ahead of Chelsea's Champions League semi-final
Jose Mourinho has praised Fernando Torres’ “professional” attitude as Chelsea gear up for their Champions League semi-final first leg against Atletico Madrid.
Torres has once again struggled to find consistent form for the Blues this season, managing just four goals in 25 Premier League appearances for the west London side.
He is a real Atletico supporter, I would say a big one. We talk about Spanish football every day
The former Atletico captain scored 91 goals in 243 games for the Spanish side before sealing a move to Liverpool in 2007.
And Torres, who is set to face his former employers for the second time after lining up against them during the 4-1 Uefa Super Cup defeat back in August 2012, has earned special praise from his manager ahead of the tie.
“Playing in the Champions League is a big motivation for every player,” said Mourinho.
“I am not saying that Fernando Torres will start, I am saying that he never hides. We feel that every day.
“He is a real Atletico supporter, I would say a big one. We talk about Spanish football every day.
“But he is a professional. I have no doubts that the minutes he will be on the pitch tomorrow he will do everything for Chelsea given the professional that he is.”
Atletico Madrid v Chelsea: Pre-match facts
• The teams met in the 2012 Uefa Super Cup when Radamel Falcao’s first-half hat-trick gave Atletico a 4-1 victory in Monaco and their second triumph in the competition in three years. Gary Cahill scored Chelsea’s consolation after Miranda had made it 4-0 on the hour.
• Atletico have taken on English sides 21 times, winning eight, drawing eight and losing five. At home their record is W5 D4 L0. In seven two-legged ties with English clubs in Uefa competition, Atletico have won five and lost two.
• This is Atletico’s 13th appearance in a major Uefa club competition semi-final; they have won six and lost six.
• Born in the Madrid suburb of Fuenlabrada, Fernando Torres became Atletico’s youngest captain at 19 and scored 84 goals in 214 Liga appearances for the Rojiblancos before joining Liverpool in 2007.