Villas-Boas: Torres is a £50m striker
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has vowed not to become obsessed by the form of Fernando Torres this season. The Spain striker managed just one goal in 18 appearances for the Blues following his £50m move from Liverpool in January.
Villas-Boas will be relying on Torres to provide a far greater scoring output if he is to enjoy a successful first campaign in charge and, after the No9 struggled in the 1-0 win over a Malaysian XI in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, he found himself under the microscope once again.
Responding to questions over the 27-year-old after the game, the former Porto coach warned he would not become bogged down by the form of individuals as he looks to make an impact at Stamford Bridge.
Villas-Boas said: "I don't want to turn Torres into an obsession like you people are trying to do. I am not going to waste time over this. I disagree that he is lacking in confidence.
"Every time a player doesn't score, I am asked questions about him. I agree that Torres is a £50m striker but my focus is purely on the performance of the team, not the individual.
"It doesn't matter who scores. These are pre-season games and they don't have the importance that some people think. The point of these games is to get a feel for your team, and achieve your objectives in terms of fitness and training.
"To gain the confidence to find the back of the net, Torres needs training, tolerance and patience. It doesn't look like he is getting this at the moment, but we are ready to give our forwards this patience."
Torres was substituted for Didier Drogba at half time as Chelsea laboured to a 1-0 win in sweltering conditions in front of 84,980 fans. The Ivorian fired in the free-kick that resulted in the home goalkeeper bundling the ball over his own goal-line, although replays suggested the ball may have crossed the line.
It meant the Blues have won both of their pre-season friendlies under Villas-Boas 1-0 thanks to own-goals, and the Portuguese admitted he had hoped for more from his team.
"It was a difficult game with the heat and the amount of training we have been doing," he told Chelsea TV. "The players felt it a little bit and I think the most important thing is for us to get fitness conclusions at the moment.
"We had a couple of chances, we cannot deny that. It's a pity that the result went short a little bit on our expectations. But some good combinations and some good levels of fitness were shown."