Ancelotti defends Torres debut

Ancelotti defends Torres debut

Published Feb. 6, 2011 10:02 p.m. ET

Carlo Ancelotti claimed Fernando Torres "did a good job" despite a disappointing debut in Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

£50million man Torres had been the name on everyone's lips in the build-up to Sunday afternoon's much-hyped Premier League clash following his British transfer record move from Anfield.

However, it was not to be a dream debut for the Spaniard, who put an early 20-yard effort high into the stands and was replaced by Salomon Kalou after 68 minutes.

Moments later and the Reds fans - who had taken great delight in barracking their former Kop idol throughout the match - were celebrating when Raul Meireles slammed the ball in after a mix-up between Chelsea keeper Petr Cech and Branislav Ivanovic which was enough to secure another victory for Kenny Dalglish's improving side.


Ancelotti, however, maintained: "The problem wasn't that Torres played - he did a good job on the pitch.

"We had difficulty finding enough space in front, because Liverpool defended very well and they put three defenders in the middle, and we didn't find the right way to attack them.

"We were too slow playing from the back. We didn't find the space."

Ancelotti continued: "Fernando tried to do something, used his movement and did a good job.

"We have to work in training to combine with the other strikers, but that's normal.

"I took him off because, after 60 minutes and a very busy week, it was good for him to come off.

"Fernando has experience, he has confidence and didn't show problems before the game.

"He was enthusiastic to play, excited, and it didn't show a problem.

"We have to give Fernando time to adjust to the shape, but I think that he will do it quickly."

Ancelotti sees no reason why deploying Torres, Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka in a front three should not work.

"We played a fantastic game with this shape at Sunderland and wanted to reproduce that," the Chelsea boss said, "but Liverpool were strong defensively, put strong pressure on in their half, and we were not able to find the solution.

"The right result would have been a draw, but this is football."

Ancelotti insisted: "The problem was not putting these players together. These players have a lot of quality and I will try everything to put them together.

"Obviously we could play better as a team, not just in front.

"When you don't play quickly from the back, you have difficulty playing well up front."

Chelsea now find themselves 10 points behind Manchester United, unable to capitalise on the leaders' shock 2-1 defeat at bottom club Wolves yesterday.

"We are disappointed because we had an opportunity to close the gap, but now we are still the same distance," Ancelotti said.

"Maybe now we have less possibility to close the gap, but we have to try again. We have to try to fight again for the title.

"The Premier League is very difficult in every game, so it could happen that United can lose again."

Liverpool, meanwhile, have now won four league games in succession in Dalglish's tenure, which currently is only supposed to be until the end of the season.

The Reds are now up to sixth place, just six points behind Tottenham and Chelsea but having played a match more.

Ancelotti said: "Liverpool played very well, with fantastic power, play and attitude. Obviously they can come back to fight for fourth place."