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Apr 1, 2012

Ivanovic hails Torres impact

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic believes Fernando Torres' return to form has provided the Blues with a timely boost as they aim to end a difficult season with two trophies.

• Ivanovic at the double
• Di Matteo hails "fantastic" Chelsea

Torres ended his six-month goal drought in the Premier League when he netted in stoppage time to seal a 4-2 win at Aston Villa on Saturday, which followed on from two goals in the FA Cup last month.

The Spaniard also had a hand in the other three goals against Villa, twice flicking on Juan Mata corners for Ivanovic to score.

Torres has been at the heart of Chelsea's best moments as they have been transformed under interim boss Roberto Di Matteo, with the Blues winning six of eight games under his guidance.

His goal at Villa Park was wildly celebrated by the away fans, with every Chelsea player racing over to join in the congratulations, and Ivanovic admitted Torres' improvement was providing the enthusiasm to end the season on a high.

"It was an important goal for him. Fernando has been going well and playing well all over the pitch,'' he said.

"He's been doing everything for the team and I think he deserved that goal. He is a great player. Of course he has felt the pressure and so it was important for us to support him.

"We know how good he is. We've seen that every day in training. But at the same time, for him to score a goal was very important.

"But for us, we know how much he has given us. He doesn't just play for himself but he plays for the team.

"After the game, he didn't really say anything. But I went up to him and said: 'Thank you for the two assists!'''

Chelsea's attention now turns to Wednesday night's Champions League second leg against Benfica at Stamford Bridge when they will be expected to progress into the last four, where either Barcelona or AC Milan will await.

The Blues are also in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and will face London rivals Tottenham at Wembley.

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