Belfast Telegraph

Villas-Boas shows Torres who is boss at Chelsea

By Sam Wallace

Andre Villas-Boas showed his first signs of frustration yesterday with Chelsea's struggling striker Fernando Torres when he said that the club were investigating comments made by the player that some of his team-mates at the club were “very slow” and partly to blame for his lack of goals.

Torres gave the interview during international week and it was replicated in English on his personal website although that version of it has since been removed.

The 27-year-old, who is expected to come back into Chelsea's team tonight for their first Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen, said that the “older” players at Chelsea were “very slow”, and that Juan Mata's arrival could change the team's style.

Having left Torres out of the team to face Sunderland on Saturday, Villas-Boas said that if the interview was “unauthorised” he would expect to fine the player.

However, given that it was undertaken while the player was on duty with Spain there is not likely to be any sanction from the club.

Villas-Boas added: “We are going in-depth to regain the tape of that interview. We'll see if things play exactly as they are in that interview. We want to go in-depth a bit more. Anyhow, it's one player's perspective. I don't think it's a perspective that the manager shares. I don't have to share my players' ideas sometimes.”

The version that appeared on Torres' website quoted him thus: “When I changed club I knew it was going to be a slow process, although I didn't expect it to be so long. Chelsea is, (of) the English teams, maybe the least English. They have a slow way of playing; to always have the ball makes the rival fall back easily so they leave no holes (space behind the defence).

“That's because of the kind of player Chelsea has: an older player, who plays very slow, who has a lot of possession and that's what the club is trying to change now.”

Torres has scored just one goal in 22 appearances for Chelsea and Villas-Boas conceded yesterday that the striker was “not happy” to be left out of the 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light.

“I'm glad because maybe you can stimulate them to go one step further, or motivate them a bit more,” admitted Villas-Boas.

Didier Drogba has had dental surgery following his collision with Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy and Villa-Boas said that it was by no means certain he would play in Sunday's game against Man United.

Villas-Boas, meanwhile, has denied he inherited a Chelsea squad so scarred by their Champions League failures that they were further away than ever from winning club football's ultimate prize.

Chelsea have gone closer than anyone to winning the Champions League without actually lifting the trophy since Roman Abramovich bought the club eight years ago.

But after reaching four semi-finals and one final in the Russian's first six years at the helm, they appeared to go backwards in Europe under Carlo Ancelotti, failing to get to the last four in 2010 and 2011.

Villas-Boas, who will be making his managerial debut in the competition tonight, says: “I don't think there's a mental block. There's some kind of unpredictability that can take you all the way to the final sometimes. Other times it doesn't.”

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