Finding his touch

Published : Nov 16, 2013 00:00 IST

"I'm really happy for the team and my performance," says Torres.-
"I'm really happy for the team and my performance," says Torres.-

"I'm really happy for the team and my performance," says Torres.-

The return of Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge has signalled an upturn in Fernando Torres’ fortunes.

Fernando Torres appears to have found his mojo. He had lost it for sure and his search has at times been painful to watch, but if his display in Chelsea’s win over Manchester City is a sign of things to come the Barclays Premier League can rejoice.

The Spaniard was a force of nature after arriving at Liverpool from Atletico Madrid in 2007. He ripped through English football’s meanest defences and plunged the red half of Merseyside into mourning when agreeing to join Chelsea three-and-a-half years later. But when Torres swapped red for blue his powers waned. Form and confidence evaporated and the £50million man soon found himself on the outside looking in.

None of the successive Chelsea managers, Andre Villas-Boas or Roberto Di Matteo or Rafael Benitez, could quite fathom it, but the return of Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge has signalled an upturn in the striker’s fortunes.

Since Mourinho missed out on top target Wayne Rooney in the summer, Torres has come tearing out of the shadows.

Fitness and confidence restored, Torres has been employed as Chelsea’s focal point up front and in the last six weeks his performance-levels have been getting better, culminating in his man of the match display at the weekend when he was rewarded with a last-minute winner.

Torres, who had earlier shinned a sitter over the crossbar, pounced on a mix-up between England goalkeeper Joe Hart and Manchester City team-mate Matija Nastasic in the dying moments to score his first Premier League goal of the season and seal a dramatic 2-1 win.

“The goal comes in a very intelligent action by Fernando,” Mourinho said.

“(It was a) misunderstanding by Joe and Nastasic, but Fernando was very clever the way he believed.

“Fantastic performance (by Torres) and even better because it was after an easy goal missed. That makes it even more valuable.

“When a striker misses an easy early chance, many times he’s affected for the rest of the game.

“It looks like that moment was the moment where Fernando thought ‘I will be the man of the match.’

“He’s sharp, he’s powerful, the belief is high.

“We are happy for him, but we are all happy because it’s a very important victory against a team we couldn’t beat last year.”

Chelsea’s win against their title rivals maintained their 100 per cent league record at Stamford Bridge this season and keeps them hot on the heels of Arsenal at the top of the table. The recent triumph over City was a clear indication that the Blues can mount a sustained challenge this season and a rejuvenated Torres admitted victory tasted sweeter after he capitalised on that late defensive blunder.

“When you win a game like this against a great team like Manchester City in the last minutes of the game it feels much better,” Torres said.

“I think 1-1 was not right for the game. I think we controlled most of the game and we had more chances in the first half.

“At the end we won a game we decided to win. We are happy because it is our first win against a contender for the Premier League.”

Torres’ decisive late strike was only his second league goal in 2013 and he added: “You never know which ball can be the most important in the game.

“A long ball just looking not too complicated, but not the best understanding between the defender and the keeper — you win the game in that action.

“I was unlucky to miss the chance that I missed in the first half. I thought I was offside — I should have stayed more calm.

“I missed the chance, but then in the next action I got the assist for Andre (Schurrle) and then I hit the post.

“I’m really happy for the team and my performance. The team is showing it is improving and that is very positive.”

© PA Sport, 2013, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, re-written, re-distributed or commercially exploited. Sportstar is not responsible for any inaccuracy in the material.

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