Di Matteo not worried by Torres
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has no fears about Fernando
Torres suffering another nightmare run after his indifferent game
But the Blues boss also promised Daniel Sturridge more
opportunities up front after Torres’ understudy came off the bench
and almost helped snatch victory in Saturday’s Premier League
Torres declared just over two weeks ago that he had finally
exorcised his demons at Stamford Bridge following an impressive
start to the season.
He has since produced two miserable performances, something
which it would be unfair to read to much into under normal
But by storming down the tunnel after being substituted for
Sturridge after a display of ever-diminishing returns, Torres
himself suggested he could easily regress to the dark place he
found himself in for 18 months following his ?50million move from
Di Matteo dimissed this out of hand, saying: “No, no, absolutely
not. We can’t put too much pressure on one player.
“We are a team and everybody has responsibility. We’re looking
for other players to score goals as well.”
Di Matteo repeatedly refused to be drawn on QPR boss Mark
Hughes’ claim that Ryan Nelsen “dominated” Torres, whose display of
petulance at least showed he cares.
At the third time of asking, the Chelsea boss replied: “I think
it’s a team sport. I wouldn’t individually go player by player.
“I thought, as a team, we played well, our centre-forward worked
very hard, he had a chance in the first half to score as well, a
half-decent chance in the second half.”
It was Torres’ lack of effort as the game progressed that was
truly worrying and Di Matteo finally took decisive action nine
minutes from time.
The difference in his two strikers’ workrates was staggering and
begged the question what might have happened had Sturridge come on
It also begged the question about whether the England forward
deserved a recall ahead of Torres, who has started every match this
“We’ve only played four in the league now,” said Di Matteo,
whose attention now shifts to Wednesday’s Champions League clash
“We’re going to have seven games – including this – in 21
“So there is time for everybody to play.”
He added of Sturridge: “He can maybe play more minutes, for
“As long as he keeps training well and, when he has the
opportunities, shows his qualities, that’s the way forward, and he
will get chances to play as well.”
Di Matteo promised that meant more opportunities “in the middle”
for the England forward, who has become increasingly frustrated
with being played out wide and reportedly came close to being
allowed to leave on loan before the transfer window closed.
Chelsea can ill-afford a lack of goals if they are to stand any
chance of defending their European crown.
They kick off their bid to do so this week and Di Matteo was
acutely aware of the task at hand.
The man whose three months as caretaker boss witnessed one of
the most astonishing Champions League triumphs ever, said: “To win
it twice in a row, it’s proven so far impossible, because it’s so
Pointing out the number of top sides who were not even among the
highest seeds this season, Di Matteo also admitted Chelsea now had
a target on their back.
“Every opposition is going to play with extra motivation playing
against the title holder of the Champions League,” he said.
“So it makes our lives more difficult.”
Chelsea already had a taste of that in the UEFA Super Cup
against Atletico Madrid and Di Matteo added: “Even in the league,
I’m sure that Mark Hughes would’ve told his players, ‘You’re
playing against so and so, the European champions’.”
Revealing he had not once watched last season’s final on tape,
the Italian was simply relieved to be in the competition at all
after Chelsea finished only sixth in the Premier League.
He said: “We are very pleased that, again, we are involved and
we’re going to face a very, very difficult game on Wednesday