Team-player Torres still proves critics wrong

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Football News

Fernando Torres' performance at Old Trafford on Sunday will always be remembered for the howling miss that could have got Chelsea on their way to a magnificent comeback against Manchester United.

The simple counter argument to any constructive praise for what was, for the most part, a very promising 90 minutes from the Spanish striker will always be “but how did he miss that one?”

He scored the first – but how did he miss that one? He was a part of some of Chelsea's most promising play – but how did he miss that one? He is under a lot of pressure – but how the hell did he miss that one?!

There is no doubt about it; “that” was a sitter. Forget the fact that he'd made a perfectly timed run and, unlike much of Manchester United's play on Sunday, remained onside to receive Nicolas Anelka's through ball. Forget how he wrong footed David De Gea to give himself the opportunity on goal. Only remember the impossibly wide effort he managed to muster, yards from the open United goal.

This is the simple story. He missed, forget the rest.

For fans, the press and Torres critics across the country this selective amnesia is all to easy to repeat.

The story of the most expensive signing in the country failing to score is sometimes excruciating, sometimes amusing, but always compelling.

But Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas will see the bigger picture. For another horrendous miss, look no further than half an hour before Torres' baffling error and you will find the Barclays Premier League top scorer this season fluffing up in an extraordinary manner.

It is easier to swallow Wayne Rooney's penalty howler when put alongside his nine goals and the eventual Manchester United win, but Villas-Boas saw the two mistakes in the same light.

As the Chelsea manager said: "You have an example of Rooney missing a penalty too, which is basically the same.”


A miss is a miss, and Andre Villas-Boas can and will look past Torres' blunder.

Chelsea have a lot to take away from the day, no more so than Torres. His response to the pressure and criticism that has surrounded him has been incredible.

The 27-year-old seems bursting with energy. He has avoided the age old goal drought pit fall of becoming obsessed with scoring, evidenced by his courageously selfless assists against Bayer Leverkusen and his unconverted set up for Remires in front of goal while one nil down on Sunday.

And, lest we forget, he slotted one a minute after the break against Barclays Premier League champions Manchester United.

If the pressure and criticism mounts further then Torres can only get more determined to prove he is still one of the best strikers in the world. His Liverpool record of 65 goals in 102 appearances will never be repeated at Chelsea because, unlike the Anfield of old, there are others around him that are just as capable of scoring.

Torres has been slowly adapting from vigilante striker to team forward – the rewards for Chelsea are just a bit harder to pick up on and easier to forget. But there is no doubt that all Chelsea fans will be hoping their £50 million signing will give them more to remember for the right reasons this season.

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Fernando Torres

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