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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb, 4, 2012

Torres hails Blues fans

Fernando Torres has revealed he might have given up all hope of succeeding at Chelsea but for the support of the club's fans.

• AVB: Torres taking his time

And he has revealed that one of the greatest memories of his career was off the field when a substitute at Wolverhampton while the supporters chanted his name.

Torres marked a year at Stamford Bridge this week but it was hardly an anniversary to celebrate for the 27-year-old, who remains on course to be remembered as one of the most expensive flops in the history of football.

The £50 million man, who has won Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup with Spain, has scored just five times in 44 Chelsea appearances since last January's move from Liverpool and is currently on his longest goal drought yet.

Three and half months, 17 games, or 1,000-plus minutes - whichever way you look at it, the statistics make grim reading for the Spain striker, but at least he is being given the chance to end his long wait, having started every game in 2012 while Didier Drogba is on African Nations Cup duty.

The same could not be said back in November, when he lost his place to Drogba, with the only thing keeping him going was the comfort of knowing the fans still backed him.

"I would like things to be much better but the support they give me every day is amazing," Torres told Chelsea TV. "I remember a game against Wolverhampton and I was on the bench, and they were still singing my name.

"I've been very lucky to live very good moments but that game, when I was in the middle of nothing and not playing, was maybe the best memory I have in all my career.

"At the beginning of the season, I went through a hard moment, I was not playing, things were wrong and I was eight games without playing - I had never been in this situation before.

"The only thing that gave me hope was the support of the people. That game against Wolverhampton showed me there are important things to fight for, the love of the fans, the support of the club.

"My team-mates as well but the fans are the ones who have always been there from the first day until now."

If the support of the fans in November's Wolves game provided Torres with arguably his best memory, there can be little doubt about his worst.

Although he scored for the first time this season in September's game at Manchester United, the striker also produced one of the worst open-goal misses in Premier League history.

"Hopefully, this kind of thing happens once in a life, because it is so hard," Torres said, as he prepared to face Sir Alex Ferguson's men once more on Sunday. "I've had good games against Man U, I scored last time and hopefully we can beat them and get three more points."

Torres acknowledged that would be difficult without the injured John Terry and Ramires and the suspended Ashley Cole, while he hoped Frank Lampard would be passed fit after the calf injury that has kept the midfielder out of the last two matches.

Even if Lampard plays, the game could see Michael Essien start for the first time this season. The 29-year-old has made four successive substitute appearances since returning from his latest bout of knee surgery.

Essien wrote in his blog on Chelsea's official website: "Way back in July, when I broke down in pre-season training, my mind went back to the pain I suffered during my previous rehabilitations.

"I had had a brilliant restful summer and was looking forward to the season, so to break down immediately on my return was a major setback for me and a real disappointment.

"This was my third big injury and you can imagine how I felt knowing that I had to go through the six-month process all over again. It was heartbreaking but I had to be strong and believe in my powers of recovery.

"The rehab process is slow, long-winded and painfully lonely. To everyone, it's 'thank you' for being there for Michael Essien and I am glad to repeat - it's official - Michael Essien is back!"

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