Fernando Torres believes he has become a better player since he made the switch from Liverpool to Chelsea.
The Spain international was speaking in a interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais when he made the claim and put it down to last season’s change of manger at Stamford Bridge.
The man known as ‘El Nino’ described how his troubles when he first arrived at Chelsea stemmed from the difference in style between his best days under Rafael Benitez at Anfield and Andre Villas-Boas’ system.
Torres sometimes went months at a time without scoring a goal last season, but he felt it was an important learning curve for him and claimed that, once Roberto di Matteo was handed the reins at Stamford bridge, he grew as a player and began to accept the need for him to play different roles.
“When we changed coach [and Roberto Di Matteo took over] it was a bit more similar [to Benítez's style]. That had a good side to it, which was that I learned: I became a better player,” he says the Guardian translation of the interview.
“I can now do things that I was not able to before. You can be the player that your coach wants but you're not the player that people expect you to be. I spoke to Steve Holland, the [Chelsea] assistant, a lot and we worked hard on it.
“I became more mature, I came to know myself better and became conscious of the fact that it depends on me. I learnt to be more self-critical, to understand everyone better and to accept the situation.”
Torres has already bagged six goals this season under Di Matteo and appears to be relishing the new-look Chelsea side, with him being supplied by the exceptionally talented trio of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar.
Reports of Roman Abramovich making a huge offer for Atletico Madrid goal-machine Radamel Falcao would normally worry the player he is signed to offer competition for, but the new mature Torres sounds as though he is ready to take anything in his stride.