Jose Mourinho: Fernando Torres is smiling again
Published 12/01/2014 | 13:04
Jose Mourinho believes Fernando Torres is enjoying his football again and has praised Chelsea fans for their continued support of the Spanish striker.
Torres has rarely hit the heights of his Liverpool days during his three years at Stamford Bridge but remains a key part of Mourinho's plans.
He has scored in his last two Barclays Premier League outings, wrapping up a 2-0 victory at Hull to see Chelsea end Saturday night on top of the table, and taking his season's tally to eight in all competitions.
Just four of those goals have come in league action - five fewer than top-scorer Eden Hazard, who opened the scoring against the Tigers - but Mourinho is happy with Torres' contribution.
"Fernando scored against Southampton, now he has scored again. He is enjoying his football more than the last couple of years," said Mourinho.
"The goals are coming and he is doing what we want him to do: press defenders, hold the ball, wait for support, get behind defenders and he scored.
"It is important for him but more important for us."
The Portuguese credits supporters for staying with the player during his less successful times but has not been surprised by their attitude after seeing similar support for a struggling striker during his first spell at the club.
"Chelsea fans are like this. I remember in 2004 when we had Mateja Kezman and he scored his first (league) goal in December, but every time playing at Stamford Bridge people were supporting him," he said.
"It helps players, especially in a difficult moment. Players do not feel the heat when things are not going well for them."
Mourinho famously branded himself the 'Special One' upon his arrival at Chelsea, but reflecting on Torres' situation he had a new assessment to make.
"Special fans. Special club," he said.
Unlike Torres, goalkeeper Petr Cech was a key player during Mourinho's initial stint and he kept his 209th clean sheet for Chelsea.
That took him past Peter Bonetti and into the club's record books, and he is now just 20 shutouts away from overtaking David James' Premier League benchmark.
"It is almost 10 years...clean sheet after clean sheet," said Mourinho.
"In this moment he beats the record of Mr Bonetti and I think probably next year he will beat the record the league."
Hull manager Steve Bruce was disappointed by his side's second-half performance after going in goalless at the break, but matches against Norwich and Crystal Palace before the end of the month are more realistic targets.
"In the first half we did okay. Second half, unfortunately, against a top team, we didn't keep the ball well enough," said Bruce.
"If you keep surrendering possession it's going to be difficult.
"When you take on the big boys, if you keep giving the ball back to them, they're going to punish you and that's what happened.
"But the season is never going to be defined by games against Chelsea.
"We were nowhere near posing Chelsea a threat. We're disappointed but it's not going to define our season."