Sunday 22 October 2017

Torres: I didn't care if we won or lost when I wasn't playing

Jamie Holland

Fernando Torres admits there was a time he did not care if Chelsea won or lost, but is now enjoying a new lease of life with the European champions.

The Spain striker endured a difficult spell following his £50m move from Liverpool in January 2011, finding himself on the fringes of the Blues team, which led to him becoming disenchanted with life at Stamford Bridge.

"Halfway through last season, I distanced myself from the values I had grown up with," he said. "I had team-mates who didn't care if the team won or lost because they were not playing. I never wanted to be like that. (But) one day I discovered that I was like them, that it didn't matter if we won or lost if I was not playing.

"I wasn't part of the group. I discovered that I was not happy because I had stopped being what I had always wanted to be. In the dressing-room, you can never lose that group concept.

"But I learned to look at myself and to realise that the only person that can change is you. The only person who can say: 'You're making mistakes, you've got to do something' is you."

Fresh

Torres (28) said he feels the switch of management when Roberto di Matteo took over from Andre Villas-Boas offered a fresh start.

"When we changed coach, it was a bit more similar (to Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez's style). That had a good side to it, which was that I learned: I became a better player," he said.

"I became more mature, I came to know myself better and became conscious of the fact that it depends on me. I learnt to be more self-critical, to understand everyone better and to accept the situation.

"I learnt that if we won it didn't matter that I hadn't played. I had to keep working. When I retire, the only thing that concerns me is no one can say that I was a bad team-mate or disrespectful or self-important."

Torres admitted it was not a straightforward decision to leave Anfield.

"I owe Liverpool a huge amount. To the people, to the men in charge, to Benitez and his staff, to the city. Liverpool is a fundamental part of my life. They don't remember me that way, but time will change that," he said.

"I could not have chosen a better place to go when I left Atletico. My son is a Liverpool fan. He was born in the football city; he had no choice."

Torres added: "I decided to leave because I had to take a step forwards. It wasn't the best way to go, but nor were things exactly as they were sold (to people).

"One day, the truth will come out. In a sporting sense, nothing was happening; a new project was needed."

Irish Independent

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