Torres vows to earn place at Chelsea
Chelsea striker Fernando Torres says he misses being the player he once was but vowed to win over Blues manager Jose Mourinho and earn a regular place in his starting lineup next season.
In an interview in French magazine So Foot, Torres spoke about his yearning for the kind of scoring success he enjoyed after his move to Liverpool in 2007 and discussed the reasons why he felt he needed to quit the Anfield club when Chelsea came calling with a 50 million pound offer in January 2011.
Yet it is his comments about Mourinho and Chelsea that are most intriguing, as the Spaniard seems intent to alter the perception of a manager who has hinted on several occasions that he is not the striker he wants in his Blues first team.
"Today, I am a different player but I am not going to lie to you: the player that I was, the one who started all the matches with a guaranteed place, I really miss sometimes," stated Torres, in quotes translated for the Daily Mirror.
"At one point, I even sat myself down to watch videos of my goals: I wanted to understand what I was doing before when I was scoring.
"I concluded that the only thing that had changed was the colour of the shirt. Everything is a question of adaptation to the playing style of a team. There are the styles which suit me well and others less, that is all.
"Clearly [Mourinho's] aim is to sign another attacker for next season, but I am going to continue to work to make him change his opinion.
"There is not a lot to analyse. It is not possible to read it another way: he is not completely satisfied with our performances and that is all. All that is left for us to do is to prove that we can be the striker he is looking for."
Torres has suggested Chelsea's refusal to adopt a playing system that would suit his style of play is part of the reason why he has struggled at Stamford Bridge, as he hinted initial promises made by the club when he signed have not been fulfilled.
"Before my arrival, Chelsea played with [Nicolas] Anelka and [Didier] Drogba in attack," he says. "I arrived to play alongside Anelka in a system with three midfielders. We played only one match with that system.
"At the time, David Luiz and myself went to see [manager Carlo] Ancelotti together because we had been the last arrivals, we were told we would be important, but, in reality, we weren't playing. They finished by saying to us: 'We are going to finish the season with the team that started it.'
"I understood nothing of what had happened. I started to get to know the bench. I reassured myself by saying things would soon change. [Andre] Villas-Boas arrived, then [Roberto] Di Matteo, but it was always the same: one day I played, the next not.
"When you play, you do not ask yourself how it feels to be on the bench. You have to live it to understand how difficult it is to be there without being there. To enter a match knowing you do not have the confidence of the coach. To play when you simply don't have the habit of playing.
"I felt bizarre, I had the feeling of getting tired quicker, of being heavier. I had no gas. You have to fight against a lot of things to get off the bench, sometimes even against yourself."
Torres went on to speak in glowing terms about his spell at Liverpool and the special relationship he enjoyed with Reds skipper Steven Gerrard.
"At Liverpool, I had almost everything but titles," added Torres. "I felt like a king but the team was falling apart. The directors had sold [Javier] Mascherano to Barca, then Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid without investing any of the money to compensate for the departure of these two key players.
"I was 27, I wanted to know what it was like to lift the Champions League and I had the feeling it was not going to happen with the Reds. Liverpool then was in full transition, the club was being sold and in that case, unless you are Manchester City or PSG, it can be a long road before you are again competitive.
"I did not have the time to wait. One day, Steven Gerrard came to say to me: Fernando, now, you have to think of yourself. Do what you have to do. When I went to tell him that I was going to accept the Chelsea offer, it destroyed him.
"Announcing my departure from Liverpool to Gerrard was one of the most difficult moments of my career. He was my best teammate and I am not sure of finding another like him in the future. We were made for each other."