Di Matteo: No issue with Torres

BY foxsports • September 22, 2012

Roberto Di Matteo has leapt to the defence of Fernando Torres again after former Chelsea boss Ruud Gullit put the boot into the striker.

Di Matteo denied ?50million man Torres was enduring another crisis of confidence after managing barely a shot on target in his last three matches, all of which the Blues were unable to win.

Torres has endured plenty of criticism since joining Chelsea from Liverpool, but Gullit's outspoken attack perhaps carries extra significance because of the Dutchman's place in Stamford Bridge folklore.

Gullit, who masterminded the club's first trophy success of the modern era as well as bringing Di Matteo to English football, said it sometimes felt "like Chelsea are playing with 10 men" after Wednesday's Champions League draw with Juventus.

He added: "For me, he must do more. You give him the benefit of the doubt because he is a nice guy and blah blah blah, but it is not good enough.

"At the moment, he is an enigma. He has to start performing and quickly. It is becoming annoying."

But Di Matteo said today: "We're happy with him. Even when he doesn't score, he provides and works hard for the team and he's always an outlet for us.

"At the moment, there is no issue for us."

Torres appears to have gone back into his shell after confidently declaring last month his Chelsea nightmare was at an end.

That followed three goals in the opening four games of the season and Di Matteo added: "He's full of confidence and he's playing and he's playing well and he's scoring goals; not in the last couple of games but he's scored.

"He's always busy, keeping defenders busy and moving and doing the right stuff. I don't see any problem you are talking about."

With Daniel Sturridge out injured, Torres is currently Chelsea's only recognised centre-forward.

That means they cannot substitute him unless they were to play one of their midfielders out of position.

There is also the prospect of playing with a so-called 'false nine' as Spain do.

But Di Matteo said: "That's not in discussion at the moment. We have a forward and we're happy with our forward.

"Hopefully, Daniel Sturridge will be fit and back soon as well. At the moment, our system is playing with a forward."

Di Matteo also insisted John Obi Mikel did not get the credit he deserved after the midfielder also came under fire for his performance against Juve.

Mikel was the victim of two racist attacks on Twitter following the mistake that led to the Italian champions' equaliser on Wednesday.

It has yet to be established whether the perpetrators are Chelsea supporters and Di Matteo said: "Fans have the right to express their opinions and their feelings, but in the right way. Our fans are brilliant. They always support the team.

"We condemn any kind of discrimination or comments or some sort of racist abuse, absolutely."

Mikel was crucial to Chelsea finally ending their agonising wait for Champions League glory last season, but his work often goes unnoticed because he rarely sets up goals and has never scored for the club.

Di Matteo said: "It's a bit of a dirty job there, to try and break up the opponents' play. You don't always get recognised with the right credit.

"Fans fall more in love with more exciting and creative players, or goalscoring players."

He added: "He's only young. He's 25 but he's an established player."