Chelsea manager highlights deficiencies in striker's style but retains belief in player's ability to come good.
The £50m acquisition of Fernando Torres from Liverpool in 2011 has long been regarded to be Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's most costly mistake.
While a crucial 2013 Europa Cup final goal threatened to alter the status quo of sub-par goal returns for the Spaniard, the reintroduction of Jose Mourinho as Blues boss and the insistence of a ball-on-the-floor playing style appears to stutter any form the player hoped to have enjoyed in the current campaign.
Reported by the Daily Mail, Mourinho spoke about the differences in tactics between the Liverpool that Torres thrived in, to the Chelsea he has struggled in. He said: '[At] Liverpool, [Torres' form was greater because he] was more running into spaces [but] the way here is more ball at his feet with small spaces to play in.
'Fernando is not naturally a skilful, creative player but he is a good player, a good professional and it was a good surprise for me the way he works very hard. I believe in Fernando.'
The statement may well be a damning vote of no confidence. In the 2013/14 Premier League season, Torres has featured four times, playing a total of 152 minutes but has returned no goals, has managed just three shots but tested the goalkeeper only once.
Because of the way Mourinho sees Chelsea progressing, by playing the ball into the attacker's feet, it appears the Portuguese has more confidence in summer signing Samuel Eto'o.
While Eto'o has, similarly to Torres, played 154 minutes of Premier League football, he has made just two appearances (both as a starter), has returned no goals, but shot a total of eight times (testing the goalkeeper on four occasions).
Eto'o shoots, on average, once every 19.25 minutes. Torres, meanwhile, manages one every 50.66 minutes.
While Eto'o is yet to bulge a net, Mourinho believes it is only a matter of time, as the Cameroonian's experience has been jeapordised due to his time spent at Anzhi Makhachkala. Despite the player's success at Internazionale, at Barcelona and at Mallorca, the fact he has been lining up against players in an inferior league means he will require time to adjust to the physicality and competitiveness of a superior competition.
'When you are on the top of the world for almost ten years and then you go to a different reality - we know he went there for economic reasons - it is not a challenge for a player who plays all his life for Barcelona, Inter Milan and in the Champions League.
‘I knew his level would go down but for me he is a very good player. When he has the ball at his feet it is easy to see the player he is.'
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