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Chelsea’s Fernando Torres responded to his manager’s recent comments in perfect fashion, scoring the club’s only goal of the match as the Blues secured a 1-1 away draw against Galatasaray.
The build-up to this last-16 tie was overshadowed when Jose Mourinho was recorded commenting on his strikers and this footage found its way onto French television.
Starting his first game for the Blues since January 11, Torres gave a fine response, finding the back of the net in what proved to be a tough fixture for Chelsea.
Inside the opening 10 minutes he pounced on some clumsy Galatasaray defending to slip the ball home from a neat Cesar Azpilicueta pass. This precious away goal could prove vital for the club in three weeks, when they welcome their Turkish opponents to Stamford Bridge.
It wasn’t just his goal that would have impressed Mourinho. The Spaniard covered plenty of ground at both ends of the pitch, winning headers in his own area at set-pieces as well as in amongst the Galatasaray back four.
In total he won three of six attempted headed duels, whilst completing 80% of his attempted take ons. He caused problems for the Turkish outfit throughout the entire first half.
His passing accuracy will prove slightly disconcerting for Chelsea fans. Having made attempts to play the ball to a team-mate just 14 times, he registered a measly success rate of 57%.
Playing as a lone frontman this total needs a drastic improvement, especially if he wishes to cement a starting berth in Mourinho’s side. His average accuracy in Europe now stands at just 58%.
He had a glorious chance to snatch a second goal seven minutes into the second half but, just like the Torres we have grown accustomed to, he failed to capitalise on this opportunity.
Eden Hazard sent him in on goal with a sublime through ball, but he hesitated for far too long and ended up hitting a tame shot which goalkeeper Fernando Muslera was able to tip wide. Of his four attempts in this match he hit the target on two occasions, whilst one strike was blocked.
The main requirement of a frontman is, of course, to score and Torres is doing well in this regard – he now has three goals in four European appearances.
Mourinho told reporters after the final whistle: "I am not critical with my striker, because my striker did a very good game. But, overall, when we go to counter-attack situations, we are missing the last pass, the last control, the last choice - because we had in the first half many occasions to do the second goal. The second goal would have changed completely the story of the game."
Regardless of the Portuguese manager’s diplomatic response in his post-match interview, it would be a huge surprise if the club’s chequebook is not utilised throughout the summer months. But at least Torres showed he can offer a goal threat in what remains of the season.
- Sports & Recreation
- Fernando Torres
- Jose Mourinho