Ferguson: Chelsea obsessed with Champions League
Chelsea's signing of Fernando Torres shows how obsessed the club is about winning the Champions League, according to Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.
The 50 million-pound ($80 million) signing of Torres came in January as Chelsea's hopes of winning a trophy were fading.
Now Europe offers the last realistic route to glory for a Chelsea side that is 11 points behind United in the Premier League title race and must overturn a 1-0 deficit at Old Trafford on Tuesday in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Chelsea, which is owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, has never won Europe's top prize before, having lost the 2008 final to United in a penalty shootout.
''It seems to be an obsession for them to win the European Cup and that's certainly why they signed Torres,'' Ferguson said Monday. ''Abramovich has nailed his colors to the mast in that respect.''
Ferguson took charge of United in 1986 but took 13 years to produce the club's first European Cup since 1968.
''To have an obsession of winning the European Cup is stretching yourself a wee bit,'' Ferguson said. ''I had that obsession myself for a time, losing semifinals and thinking we were never going to do it so when we did it in Barcelona (against Bayern Munich in 1999) it was the greatest feeling in the world and it took the monkey off my back.''
Torres hasn't scored in 10 matches for Chelsea to date. Manager Carlo Ancelotti must decide whether to keep faith with the Spain striker on Tuesday after he and strike partner Didier Drogba failed to find the net in the home leg.
Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun, fit again after seven months out with an Achilles tendon injury, is convinced it's only a matter of time before Torres starts scoring.
''He is the best striker in the world,'' Benayoun said. ''For any midfielder, it is easy to play with him and I think he will score a lot of goals because he's just quality.''
Torres couldn't pick a better time than Tuesday's high-stakes game to open his account, with Benayoun conceding that ''we are playing to save our season.''
''Chelsea proved the last few years that they can score at Old Trafford,'' Benayoun said. ''Man United like to attack at home but now maybe they will have to stay a little bit back because they are 1-0 up so maybe that will work for us better. We will do our best to create chances and win the game.''
Ferguson's main concern is over the fitness of right back Rafael da Silva, who is recovering from a knee injury sustained in last Wednesday's first leg.
''Rafael did a bit of jogging this morning,'' Ferguson said. ''Hopefully he will be able to be ready for tomorrow but I am not sure about it. There is a little doubt and it is not something I want to be risking in a major game. He really has to do something special tomorrow morning to change my mind about it.''