Villas-Boas: Torres issue in the past
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas said he had cleared the air with Fernando Torres after the Spanish striker helped set up a 2-0 UEFA Champions League victory over Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday.
Torres had ruffled feathers following an interview he had given in Spain in which he appeared to criticise some of his team-mates as "old and very slow," drawing a frosty response from Villas-Boas. But after watching Torres create both second half goals for David Luiz and Juan Mata on Tuesday, Villas-Boas said the case against his striker was closed and no disciplinary action would be taken.
"It's been solved. The investigation is over. We had a chat and the situation is solved," Villas-Boas said without going into details.
Despite Torres' contribution to both goals, the £50 million striker failed to give a wholly convincing performance as Chelsea launched their latest quest for European domination with a win in Group E.
The former Liverpool striker often appeared hesitant, seeming to take one touch too many before shooting, most obviously in the 10th minute when his shot was blocked by the leg of Bernd Leno from close range. Torres also eschewed the opportunity to go for goal in injury time, instead cutting back for Mata to make the game safe after he had accelerated clear of the Leverkusen defence.
Nevertheless Villas-Boas was satisfied with Torres' display and defended his decision to pass to Mata instead of going for goal. "I'm not worried. There was a player in front of goal and I think he took the right option. I think when he arrived in that position he took a wise decision," Villas-Boas said.
'I'm very happy collectively. I prefer to see the game like that. Everybody has been amazing in absorbing all of these new ideas, and I'm very pleased with the group."
Villas-Boas also defended his risky move to omit both John Terry and Frank Lampard from his starting line-up, a selectorial gambit made with one eye on Sunday's Premier League trip to Manchester United.
Villas-Boas disagreed that he had taken a risk by leaving the two Chelsea icons out of his starting XI. "I don't see things like that. I think you are trying to look at the negative when there are so many positives. We have a very competitive squad," he said.
"I would like to emphasise that we have just come from an international week and we played after two days the Sunderland game and two days later we played Champions league against a good team."
Facing United at Old Trafford is likely to prove the most demanding assignment of Villas-Boas's short reign at Chelsea so far, with the champions having made a blistering start to the season. "Sunday is a different kind of challenge altogether," Villas-Boas admitted.
"We face Man United in perhaps their most tremendous moment, of flair and style. It provokes in us a good challenge and motivation will be the key factor for the game."