Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Hodgson stands by Torres

Fernando Torres

Roy Hodgson insists Fernando Torres' crisis of confidence has not returned after the striker's killer instinct appeared to desert him in Liverpool's 2-1 defeat at Tottenham.

Torres twice hesitated when clean through either side of half-time while the visitors were leading at White Hart Lane. That allowed Sebastien Bassong to snuff out the danger and keep Spurs in a game that was in danger of slipping away from them.

"I think 'crisis of confidence' may be too strong," said Hodgson after Torres' display.

"I was pleased with Fernando Torres. Fernando himself, because he sets very high standards, will be disappointed he didn't take on of the goal chances which his good play - to be fair - created."

Injuries took the gloss off what was Spurs' fifth league victory from a losing position this season.

Rafael van der Vaart lasted less than 12 minutes of his return from an ankle knock before being forced off with a suspected torn hamstring, while Younes Kaboul followed before half-time with what the defender felt was a torn hip muscle.

The match looked destined to end 1-1 after Martin Skrtel scored at both ends and the match entered stoppage time. But Aaron Lennon netted a dramatic winner in the 92nd minute to move Tottenham back to within six points of the summit.

It completed a stellar eight days for Harry Redknapp's side, who came from 2-0 down to win last Saturday's north London derby before sealing their place in the Champions League knockout phase by beating Werder Bremen on Wednesday night.

Redknapp said: "To pick up three wins is difficult to do and we've done that this week.

"They've had a week's rest, Liverpool. We've had a tough week and the lads have still finished stronger."

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