Fernando Torres has said that the reason he hasn’t performed as well at Chelsea is down to the playing style…
The simple fact is that I agree with Fernando on this one. No matter how much abuse he receives from me whenever he’s on the pitch, or even how much praise I give him when he does something remotely decent – he’s right.
Torres is reported to have said how he “felt like a king whilst at Anfield”. He even went on to say “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.”
Although I agree with him, there is an argument to be had against what Fernando has said. For instance, the playing styles he’s played under whilst in the blue of Chelsea have been very different. When he first arrived, on that deadline day in January 2011, under Ancelotti, the playing style was one of blistering pace and devastating finishing up front, with a solid midfield of Lampard, Deco and Ballack. However, Torres came in to a side where he wasn’t the leading light, he wasn’t the star man, and he often found himself playing second fiddle to a certain Didier Drogba (and sometimes even Anelka). That, in many ways horrible, first term at Chelsea ended with only one solitary goal for Torres.
Andre Villas-Boas was the next one to try and squeeze anything out of Fernando. Although he found himself playing a more prominent role in the first team, the questionable managerial decisions were affecting the whole squad. Torres was being started whilst Drogba had to be content with a spot on the bench, with Anelka soon to be forced out of the club as AVB was trying to bring the youngsters Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku through to first team. The style under AVB was not clear, sometimes opting for the stylish option and other times no style was clear at all.
An historic period was soon to begin at the club, with Di Matteo replacing AVB. Robbie had a clear vision of what he wanted his playing style to be; beautiful, Barcelona football. Although he wanted this, he couldn’t execute effectively with the crop of players he had, and so opted for the more defensive option. This didn’t exactly help Fernando, who played many of the remaining league games whilst Drogba was being saved for his destiny: winning the Champions League. He finished that season with a slightly better 6 goals.
2012/13 saw creative, bright players like Eden and Oscar come into the club. This was expected to help Torres, and the style saw a resemblance of his national side Spain, too. Torres started the season well, scoring goals against Reading, Newcastle and Arsenal. However, as people started to work out Chelsea’s style, Fernando suffered, and went on a long, long goal drought of over 12 hours of football; due to teams dropping and frustrating the blues. Di Matteo then got the axe after crashing out of the Champions League groups.
An unpopular choice, Rafa Benitez came in. Surely, if anyone could’ve brought the old Fernando back, it was the man who he shone under? There was a clear up turn in his fortunes, as he performed exceedingly well throughout the Europa League campaign, scoring a quality goal in the final, too. But, alas, he never returned to former glories, despite scoring 22 goals.
The Special One returned and simply failed to secure a new striker to bolster our attacking options in the summer. The somewhat defensive style didn’t help Torres in Jose’s return season, as he scored 11 goals in all competitions. Something that won’t have helped him to perform will have been Mourinho’s very public comments criticising his striking options, as Torres will need confidence to perform.
Torres’ time looks to be all but over as a Chelsea player. I feel guilty about how we have treated him, and how it’s changed the man. What we should’ve done, is as he came in, he should’ve become the focal point of the entire team. It’s what he was used to in his Liverpool days; the team revolved around him, they worked for him. I can’t help but think that if we had done that, our recent striking problems wouldn’t have been so very severe.