Florent Malouda has warned Manchester United that Fernando Torres will only go from strength to strength after scoring first goal for Chelsea.
Torres ended a 15-hour wait for his first goal in Chelsea colours when he beat Robert Green to score the second goal in the Blues’ 3-0 hammering of neighbours West Ham on Saturday.
The Spaniard has endured a torrid time at Stamford Bridge since his arrival for a British-record transfer fee and the relief of finally opening his account was clear as he celebrated the strike by sliding on his knees in front of the home crowd.
Malouda was among the group of Chelsea players who mobbed the 27-year-old moments later and the Frenchman expects more goals to come from their expensive striker in the club’s remaining four matches – one of which is against United in two weeks’ time.
"The first one is always important and you could see everyone was very happy, we did a big pile up on him and there was a lot of happiness," said Malouda, explaining the scenes that followed Torres’ goal.
"It’s very good for his confidence; we’re going to have more goals from Torres before the end of the season.
"When you are part of the squad you want to share moments like this. It is always difficult for a striker when they have pressure because they don’t score.
"In a football career you have to enjoy those moments. When you look at the atmosphere when I scored the third goal, it was crazy. You train for those kinds of moments."
Chelsea now trail the Red Devils by six points and must win their remaining games to stand any chance of denying Sir Alex Ferguson’s men a record-breaking 19th championship.
"That’s our object until the end of the season," Malouda added.
"Right now we are getting back to our best performances, so we have to keep putting pressure on and keep winning.
"Winning the title will be difficult. The only thing we are looking at now is winning every game we have, then you never know."
A relatively short injury list has helped Carlo Ancelotti’s side find their form of late, but the absence of key players like Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba for long periods has hindered the club’s progress.
Malouda reckons the number of injuries could be down to a punishing international schedule that saw many of Chelsea’s squad take part in last summer’s World Cup.
"The Premier League is the toughest league in the world. It has been a long season for us because we have a lot of international players, which could explain why we dropped a little bit in the season," Malouda said.
"But everyone can see that we still have the ambition and desire to be the best. That’s what we want to do until the end of the season."
Chelsea should find out tomorrow whether Michael Essien will play any part of the run-in.
The midfielder, who has seen his last two campaigns interrupted by injury, hobbled off 11 minutes into the second half of Saturday’s game with a muscle complaint and will be assessed by the club’s medical staff tomorrow.