Belfast Telegraph

Di Matteo to persevere with Torres

Roberto Di Matteo insists he will stick by Chelsea's Fernando Torres for as long as it takes to end the £50million striker's goal famine.

Di Matteo, who was appointed interim coach at Stamford Bridge following the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas last weekend, is determined to support Torres who has gone five months and 25 matches without finding the back of the net.

"I will persevere as long as it takes. Persevere, persevere. He's a team player. If he doesn't score and someone else does, that's fine by me," Di Matteo said.

"If Petr Cech scores and we win 1-0, I'm happy. It will come. When you work hard in life on a football pitch, it will come.

"I have total confidence in him - 100%, 200%, whatever you want to call it... As long as it takes. We have a squad and everybody is very important. I will try to utilise all the players we have and try to select for each game those who are appropriate for that game.

"We have 20 internationals, so your bench will be internationals and some not even on the bench."

Captain John Terry is set to return against Stoke at Stamford Bridge on Sunday following his knee surgery but Di Matteo dodged the question of whether Torres and Didier Drogba could play successfully together.

He rejected also any notion that he does not get on with his players, as some reports have suggested.

"I always, paradoxically to what I've read, have had a good relationship with my players," said Di Matteo. "That's the case here as well. We have conversations. That's how it is. We exchange opinions, yes. Eventually I make my own decisions. But we do speak and listen to what they think.

"Ultimately it's my responsibility to pick the players and the tactics for every game."


From Belfast Telegraph