Torres tipped for ‘fantastic future’
Carlo Ancelotti was thrilled for Fernando Torres after the Spain striker finally scored in a Chelsea shirt in the 3-0 victory over West Ham.
The £50million man ended his 15-hour goal drought for club and country just eight minutes after coming off the bench in the champions’ Premier League win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.
Torres was in danger of becoming the most expensive flop in the history of football after failing to score in his first 13 matches since signing from Liverpool almost three months ago.
Luck appeared to have deserted Torres as he raced onto Nicolas Anelka’s pass in the 84th minute, the ball getting stuck in a near-waterlogged pitch.
But it proved a blessing in disguise as the 27-year-old swivelled and fired left-footed into the corner of the net.
Ancelotti was thrilled for Torres, who he insisted last week would open his account before the end of the season.
He said: "It was a fantastic moment. It will help him move on quickly.
"I think that the bad moment is gone and now his future will be fantastic here, at this club with his team-mates.
"He needed to score to move from this moment.
"He scored and the next game will be, for him, really better."
Ancelotti would have feared the worst when the ball got stuck in the mud and he added: "He was unlucky there but it was fantastic to move quickly, to come back and to shoot well."
Torres had been relegated to the bench for three successive games, with Drogba’s vastly superior form impossible to ignore.
The pair have failed to strike up an understanding when they have played together but Ancelotti hinted he might field both against Tottenham next week.
"Considering the performance of Didier today, considering that Fernando scored, we have to try to put both together," he said.
"We have one week to train, we can try and I think that I will take a decision for the next game."
The win maintained Chelsea’s slim hopes of retaining the Premier League title but, with leaders Manchester United beating Everton earlier, they are running out of games.
"We have less possibility," said Ancelotti, who lost Michael Essien to a muscle injury and not, as initially feared, a recurrence of his knee problems.
"There are just four games, the gap is the same, so it will be more difficult. But we have to keep trying to believe that we can do something."
A 3-0 defeat was harsh on West Ham, who ended the day back on the bottom of the table, albeit still two points from safety.
The Hammers missed several chances to score and manager Avram Grant said: "I think everybody in this room knows that we deserved better.
"Petr Cech was excellent today (with) two or three great saves. If someone didn’t see the game, they think 3-0, Chelsea is much better than us.
"I can be very proud of the players. Without the player of the year (Scott Parker), without Matthew Upson, without Gary O’Neil, and Mark Noble second half, they showed a lot of belief, a lot of spirit."
Substitute Robbie Keane missed a sitter while Chelsea were only 1-0 up, while the visitors’ luck was summed up by Torres’ goal.
"The pitch gave a good assistance to Torres," Grant said.
Noble was carried off on a stretcher after injuring his knee, with Grant adding: "It’s not looking so good."
But he was defiant over his side’s survival hopes.
"If we continue to play like this, we will stay in the league," he said.