Fernando Torres is finding it hard to emerge from the shadow of Didier Drogba, according to Chelsea team-mate Juan Mata.
The Spaniard has had the chance to prove his doubters wrong this season following the departure of Drogba over the summer, having previously failed to hold down a regular starting spot because of the presence of the Ivorian.
Drogba scored 157 goals in over 342 games and helped the club win their first ever Champions League trophy, and Mata believes Torres is still trying to establish himself as Chelsea’s leading man.
“Drogba’s departure was like an electric shock for us. He was a warrior,” he told So Foot.
“We’ve had to learn to cope without him because for many long years he was Chelsea’s lightning conductor.
“With Drogba we were conditioned to play in a certain way.
“You gave him the ball and you knew that he would at least force the opponent into a foul.
“In a way we had a tendency to rely on him too much but it was a natural mechanism.”
He added: “All the great players like getting the ball, Didier even more so.
“With Fernando it’s different. His runs aren’t the same. He’s not a funnel for our play like Drogba could be.
“He doesn’t like the holding-it-up role. He prefers finding space and facing the goal.”
Mata also believes Torres is feeling the weight of expectation of his £50 million price tag – but maintains that the former Liverpool man is still one of the finest strikers around.
“When someone pays that much for you and you become the most expensive player in the Premier League, you are eager to please. Too eager, maybe.
“Especially Fernando, because he’s a very humble guy who knows where he comes from and understands the value of money.
“For me, he is still one of the best strikers in the world.”