Gianfranco Zola has insisted that Andre Villas-boas is being hard on Fernando Torres because he wants to garner a reaction from his star striker.
Torres is yet to score a goal this season, and has only found the net once for Chelsea since he moved to Stamford Bridge in January for a record £50 million fee.
And whilst Villas-Boas has told reporters he may not start the Spaniard if his form continues to be flat for Chelsea, Zola firmly believes that the manager is trying to get a rise out of Torres that will ensure a return to his goal scoring ways.
“I’m sure the boss [Villas-Boas] knows what he’s doing,” Zola told Talksport.
“Sometimes players don’t like to be dropped and, when they don’t like something, they react. That’s what Villas-Boas is trying to do with Torres.
“He wants a reaction from him and wants more from him.”
Villas-Boas left Torres out of the starting line up against Sunderland on Saturday, deciding to give Daniel Sturridge a chance to prove himself instead. And the youngster showed form yet to be seen by Torres this season, scoring the winner in the 51st minute to help Chelsea defeat the Black Cats 2-1.