Jose Mourinho heaped praise on Fernando Torres after the striker scored twice in Chelsea’s 3-0 win at Schalke.
Torres has endured a difficult time at Chelsea since his £50 million move from Liverpool in January 2011, but Mourinho admitted he has been surprised by the work rate and desire of the 29-year-old since he returned as Blues boss last summer.
“Torres is a hard worker and that is a surprise to me. He is not the kind of player that hides behind his statues or the fee Chelsea paid for him. No, he is a hard working boy," Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“Even when he is not performing very well like has sometimes happened since he arrived at Chelsea, he always kept his professionalism. He has always been positive, sometimes scoring goals, but always giving his best.
“He is a player that I trust and the same is true of our other strikers. Samuel [Eto'o] played very well in the last game and Fernando played very well today so we have strikers who can work for the team and also score goals. Those two and Demba [Ba] have enough quality to play for us and to succeed for us."
Torres said he felt "very sharp" after his impressive showing against Schalke, as he suggested the mood in the Chelsea camp was positive after a return to form.
“As a team we are feeling much better and in the last few games I feel very sharp and well,” said Torres, who welcomed the competition for places in the Chelsea forward line.
“This [competition for places] is going to happen all season hopefully. We have three very good strikers. Hopefully all of us can score goals.
"When we have the chance we have to score goals. This competition for the striker’s position is very healthy."
Mourinho went on to express his delight at his side’s response after they lost their opening Champions League clash against FC Basel at Stamford Bridge, with his sights now set on topping Group E.
“We have had a great reaction to the defeat in the first game and now we find ourselves in a great situation,” he said. “Now we have to play two matches at home and we are in good condition to qualify and we can also think about trying to finish in first place. This was a very important victory for us."