Lampard: Torres will now show his true class
Frank Lampard watched Fernando Torres finally score his first goal for Chelsea and declared: “Now you're going to see him fly.”
More than 15 hours since he last found the net for club or country, Torres began to repay his record-breaking £50million price tag on Saturday when he helped the Blues beat West Ham 3-0 to keep their slim Barclays Premier League title hopes alive.
The Spain striker's goal sparked unforgettable scenes at a sodden Stamford Bridge as he was mobbed by every one of his outfield team-mates, including Lampard.
After going 732 minutes and 13 appearances without scoring since joining Chelsea almost three months ago, Torres had been in danger of being branded the most expensive flop in football history.
Midfielder Lampard applauded the way his new team-mate had handled the huge pressure on his shoulders and warned Saturday’s goal was just the beginning for the 27-year-old.
“A world-class striker comes with a massive price tag,” said Lampard, who opened the scoring against the Hammers.
“You can't change quality and you can't change a world-class player. We've seen it with him in his career and nothing changes.
“He's a quiet lad, he's not opened his mouth. If he's been on the bench, he's come on and not said anything.
“It was always going to be a matter of time and I think now you're going to see him fly, whether it be the last few games of this season or next season.”
Saturday's game was the third in succession Torres had been forced to start as a substitute, with manager Carlo Ancelotti deciding he could not risk leaving out the in-form Didier Drogba.
But the Italian insisted he had never doubted Torres would come good.
“I never lost the confidence in his ability and skills because he is a fantastic striker,” he said.
Ancelotti revealed afterwards he would spend the coming week attempting to get Torres and Drogba into the same team, despite their failure to strike up an understanding when they have previously played together.
He added: “They don't have a problem to play together.”
Chelsea's victory moved them back to within six points of leaders Manchester United, who defeated Everton.