Saturday 10 December 2016

Iniesta insists only a matter of time before Torres is back on goal trail

Published 28/03/2011 | 05:00

SPAIN's Andres Iniesta has leapt to the defence of Fernando Torres despite the Chelsea striker extending his goal drought against the Czech Republic on Friday night.

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Spain registered a hard-fought 2-1 win in Granada with David Villa grabbing two second-half goals to settle the Group I encounter and make the Barcelona star his country's record goalscorer.

In contrast, Torres started on the bench but was introduced at half-time as coach Vicente del Bosque increased his attacking options with his team trailing to Jaroslav Plasil's 29th-minute opener.

Torres has failed to score since his £50m move from Liverpool to Chelsea in January, although Iniesta believes the former Atletico Madrid man contributed in other ways. He said: "Fernando is doing really well. It's clear that strikers live to score, but in Granada he gave us plenty of things which people don't see, such as hard work, helping out in defence and allowing others the space to play.

"He does work which is not noticed, but it is very fundamental for the team. As for the goals, I think it's only a matter of time. He has always scored and he will continue doing so and therefore there are no problems."

Torres' former Liverpool team-mate Alvaro Arbeloa, now at Real Madrid, added: "Fernando has been playing at the top level for many years and it's not the first time he has been through a bad patch. But when you are as good as him you don't need to worry. He needs to keep doing his job and the goals will come."

Next up for Spain is a trip to Lithuania tomorrow, with Iniesta concerned about the state of the pitch in Kaunas.

"We will see the full state of it when we get there," he said, "but the pictures I have seen of it remind me of the kind of dirt fields I used to play on as a child."

Irish Independent

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