Torres' comments fuel frustration
ANDRE Villas-Boas showed his first signs of frustration with Chelsea's struggling striker Fernando Torres when he said that the club were investigating comments made by the player that some of his team-mates at the club were "very slow" and partly to blame for his lack of goals.
Torres gave the interview during international week and it was replicated in English on his personal website although that version of it has since been removed. The 27-year-old, who is expected to come back into Chelsea's team tonight for their first Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen, said that the "older" players at Chelsea were "very slow", and that Juan Mata's arrival could change the team's style.
Having left Torres out of the team to face Sunderland on Saturday, Villas-Boas said that if the interview was "unauthorised" he would expect to fine the player. However, given that it was undertaken while the player was on duty with Spain there is not likely to be any sanction from the club.
Arsenal also begin their Champions League campaign tonight away at the German champions Borussia Dortmund, the most difficult opener of all the English clubs. Yesterday, ArsEne Wenger, who has Aaron Ramsey out injured, once again warned of a financial meltdown among European clubs who lived beyond their means.
On Torres, Villas-Boas said: "We are going in-depth to regain the tape of that interview. We'll see if things play exactly as they are in that interview. We want to go in-depth a bit more. Anyhow, it's one player's perspective. I don't think it's a perspective that the manager shares. I don't have to share my players' ideas sometimes."
The version that appeared on Torres' website quoted him thus: "When I changed club I knew it was going to be a slow process, although I didn't expect it to be so long. Chelsea is, [of] the English teams, maybe the least English. They have a slow way of playing; to always have the ball makes the rival fall back easily so they leave no holes [space behind the defence].
"That's because of the kind of player Chelsea has: an older player, who plays very slow, who has a lot of possession and that's what the club is trying to change now."
Torres has scored just one goal in 22 appearances for Chelsea and Villas-Boas conceded yesterday that the striker was "not happy" to be left out of the 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light.
Didier Drogba has had dental surgery following his collision with Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy and Villa-Boas said that it was by no means certain he would play in Sunday's game against Manchester United.
On leaving Torres out of Saturday's game, Villas-Boas said: "I didn't tell him he was part of the rotation. I just made the changes. Any top player who's not part of the squad, or the selected players, is not happy. I'm glad because maybe you can stimulate them to go one step further, or motivate them a bit more. When they come back into the first XI, they can still perform. Not that that was the case, but generally."