'I don't ask my strikers to score' insists Ancelotti as Torres earns praise
Published 03/03/2011 | 05:00
Having spent £50m on Fernando Torres, you might think that the very least Chelsea would now be demanding is a few goals.
But not so, according to manager Carlo Ancelotti, who seems genuine in his satisfaction at the wider impact that Torres is beginning to have on the club's patterns of play.
Chelsea began with Torres against Manchester United on Tuesday as the main central striker in a 4-3-3 system, but finished with him being partnered in attack by Didier Drogba.
"I don't ask my strikers to score," Ancelotti said.
"I ask them to play for the team -- Torres has done a very good job with that. People judge him on the goals he scores, but I have to look at different things about his performance.
"He worked for the team, put pressure on the defenders, moved well in front and worked hard. That's enough for me. Ask him, not me, if not scoring will affect him but I don't think it will.
"I'm not asking him to score."
It is an assessment that was shared by Frank Lampard, who described Torres' movement as "unbelievable" and predicted that his new team-mate would go on to score "a hatful of goals."
Such support might be admirable after his fourth match for Chelsea without a goal, but it tells only part of the story. Yes, Torres is now sharper than on his underwhelming Chelsea debut against Liverpool, but he still looks well short of the form that produced 33 goals in his first season in English football.
Torres, who has scored only nine goals all season, yesterday likened the transition between leaving Liverpool and joining Chelsea to starting at a new school. He believes that it will take time for him to fully gel with his new team-mates.
"You are always a bit shy when you arrive on the first day," he said.
"It's important to understand the style of football and to have different options in the way you play," he said.
''You have to be able to play in all these situations and I'm sure here at Chelsea I will play in different positions sometimes.
"I'm ready for this because I want to play where the manager asks me to - I know the competition is high here." (©Daily Telegraph, London)