Belfast Telegraph

Ancelotti ready to take Torres gamble

Carlo Ancelotti has revealed he would consider gambling Chelsea's entire season — and possibly his own future — on Fernando Torres in today’s Premier League game against West Ham.

Blues manager Ancelotti refused to rule out resting the red-hot Didier Drogba and recalling £50million flop Torres for the must-win game at Stamford Bridge.

That is despite seeing the same decision backfire spectacularly in last week's Champions League defeat at Manchester United, a result which left Ancelotti all but resigned to losing his job.

Opting for Drogba over Torres in the two games since then has given Chelsea a glimmer of hope of completing the greatest comeback in Premier League title history — something that would surely make owner Roman Abramovich think twice about sacking his manager.

The Blues realistically need to win all five of their remaining games to stand any chance of overhauling Manchester United's six-point lead. They also need to score enough times to ensure they have a superior goal difference to United should that come into play.

So ditching Drogba for a player who has now gone 893 minutes without finding the net would be an almighty gamble by Ancelotti, but one he’d be willing to take.

“Maybe I can use some rotation to maintain the players' freshness,” Ancelotti said.

“It wouldn't be easy to leave Drogba out, but there's a chance we could leave him out on Saturday.

“We started with Torres against Manchester City. We won the game when Didier came on.

“It might be a good solution to give him the last 30 minutes of the game because he's fresh and fit.”

What Ancelotti failed to point out was that Chelsea only beat City last month after Torres had left the field.

In fact, the champions have scored just one goal in their their last eight matches while the striker has been on the pitch, with the 10 coming during his absence.

Part of the problem is that most of Torres' team-mates — arguably barring Drogba judging by Chelsea's late indirect free-kick against Birmingham on Wednesday — are so desperate for him to end his 13-match drought for the club they are going out of their way to pass him the ball.

Ancelotti said: “To score one goal, for him, could be the best medicine. If the players, the team-mates, help him, I'm happy.

“Everyone has to know that Fernando is the present and the future of this club. We cannot judge now the moment. He will play a lot of games for Chelsea.”

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph