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Feb 19, 2011

Ancelotti backs Torres to recover

Carlo Ancelotti has admitted that £50 million signing Fernando Torres is struggling with his form, but the Chelsea manager insists the "improving" Spaniard can "get back to his very best".

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Since his big-money move from Liverpool in January, Torres has been largely innocuous during his two appearances against his former club and Fulham. The 26-year-old, who is yet to score since making the switch to Stamford Bridge, looked sluggish, with Ancelotti hauling him off midway through the second half of both Premier League encounters.

With some critics questioning the striker's form, Ancelotti is in no doubt his most-prized asset will regain the form that made him one of the most feared forwards in Europe and says the club is doing everything it can to help restore his confidence.

"I am happy because Torres is here and because he has come in a good condition and with fantastic attitude," he told the Daily Mail. "He is not 100%, but he will score. And he will regain that speed, that acceleration, that people think he has lost. He had a problem last year, with his knee, and he tried to recover quickly to play in the World Cup. He was not 100% at the World Cup.

"He then came back in September, having basically been injured for five months. When a player is injured for five months, to come back to have the speed as well as the skill, to have that acceleration, you need to have time. So we are arranging for him specific training to work on his speed.

"That acceleration is not back yet. But he doesn't have a big problem. The knee is fine. It is coming. In the last game against Fulham, two or three times he was quick. He moved very well. He is improving. With the people we have here I am sure we can get him back to his very best. He is a good professional, and the attitude is always important. We just have to arrange the right training for him."

Meanwhile, Ancelotti's other latest recruit, David Luiz, has won rave reviews for his performances since arriving from Benfica for £25 million - with his new manager one of his biggest admirers.

"He is a very good player," Ancelotti said. "Not just a very good defender. He is a very good player too. This is the difference. He is the complete player. He's strong, he's quick, he's good with the head. Good anticipation. But he also has fantastic skill with the ball. With Luiz and Torres now here, we have more possibilities to do our best."

Ancelotti has also dismissed suggestions that, following a poor run of form that has seen the club slump to fifth place, the playing staff are losing confidence in his managerial abilities. The Italian also denied his players have been affected by the departure of former assistant Ray Wilkins.

"I don't believe they have lost confidence in me," he said. "It's the same; with Ray and without Ray. We have lost confidence because we have not been able to do the things we want to do on the pitch.

"Look, the players might seem to be interested in things that happen away from the pitch, outside the training ground, but they are not so interested, I don't think. They want to win football matches.

"The relationship between the manager and the players is the most important thing. To have a good feeling. It doesn't mean that for the manager everything is okay."

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