Andre Villas-Boas has hinted that Fernando Torres could make a rapid return to Chelsea's starting line-up when they begin their UEFA Champions League campaign with a home tie against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday.
Torres was dropped to the substitutes' bench as Chelsea maintained their unbeaten start to the Premier League season with a comfortable 2-1 win at Sunderland yesterday.
The Spain international was forced to watch his replacement, Daniel Sturridge, score an impudent back-heeled goal on Wearside before making an ineffective 14-minute cameo as a substitute.
However, Villas-Boas insists Torres remains an integral part of his plans, with Chelsea about to embark on their latest European adventure.
"I don't feel it was brave [to drop Torres]," Villas-Boas said. "This situation is nothing to do with that.
"We have four wonderful strikers and they all compete for the forward positions. They all offer a different threat and talents, and today the choice fell to [Nicolas] Anelka. There's nothing special about that.
"Fernando offers the same and has been playing magnificently well for the last three games as well, but Nicolas showed what he can do with his minutes on the pitch. We decided to go with this because Nicolas hasn't played in the international break."
When asked what Torres has to do to get back into the first team, Villas-Boas added: "Nothing special. Everyone's competing for a place in the side."