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

against QPR.

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

with Juventus.

“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

against Juventus.”