London – Given every opportunity, Fernando Torres has scored one goal since December 23 – against League One Brentford in the FA Cup. His former teammate Yossi Benayoun knows who is to blame for this: his employers at Chelsea.
“Fernando had a bad time in the beginning there,” he said. “When he came in he was on the bench, then on the pitch. He did not get the confidence.”
Not true. Torres’s first season for Chelsea was 2010-11. Following a late January transfer, his debut was on February 6, at home to Liverpool, one of 19 matches before the end of the season. Torres started 11 and came on in seven more, playing an additional two hours and 34 minutes as a substitute. He was absent for just one fixture, against Everton.
As for being on the bench, Torres started five of the first six games after his arrival, including appearances against FC Copenhagen, Blackpool and Fulham. There was plenty of opportunity to find his feet in front of goal. Indeed, far from not having faith, coach Carlo Ancelotti then seemed to reserve Torres for the biggest matches.
He was lightly raced against Wigan Athletic, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United and Birmingham City, but started against Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and three times against Manchester United, including twice in the Champions League.
It is time to stop making excuses. “This is the first year he has been given the chance to be No 1 because Didier Drogba was here,” Benayoun added.
Yes, and look what has happened. Torres had a decent run coinciding with Chelsea’s purple patches and weak opponents – he has scored one goal against a team in the top half all season – but as his team-mates have laboured he has all but disappeared.
Roman Abramovich, meanwhile, has bent over backwards to prove his judgment right. He prematurely ditched Drogba and appointed the man who mined most from Torres at Liverpool. Yet the inability to perform in a way that endorses Rafael Benitez’s employment at Chelsea suggests Torres is now a spent force. The club has done everything possible. Torres finds his form between now and May, or Chelsea must cut their losses in the summer. And, at £50m, it will be some loss. – Daily Mail