x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Fernando Torres gets his Chelsea manager's backing

Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, is confident that Fernando Torres is on the brink of starting to repay his £50 million (Dh298.5m) transfer fee with goals.

Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, is confident that Fernando Torres is on the brink of starting to repay his £50 million (Dh298.5m) transfer fee with goals.

Torres has failed in front of goal since making his record-breaking move from Liverpool, missing a host of opportunities to open his account in his four matches for Chelsea.

The 26-year-old's overall contribution has steadily improved and Ancelotti has tried to ease the pressure on him by claiming: "I do not ask my strikers to score."

But Torres has since admitted he must start finding the net and, deep down, Ancelotti knows that, too.

Asked how he would feel if the Spain international's goal drought continued until the end of the season, the Italian said: "It is impossible, because he will score. He will score, sure, because Torres was born to score."

One man who might be secretly hoping Torres continues to flounder is Salomon Kalou, who has arguably been the Chelsea player to suffer most from the Spaniard's arrival.

Kalou has started just once since then - when Torres was cup-tied - and has admitted he will consider his future at the end of the season if his situation does not improve.

"If an opportunity doesn't come, that's when you sit down at the end of the season and think about it," said Kalou, whose contract expires in the summer of 2012. "It has to be something you're doing for the good of your career. You don't make decisions by rushing them."

For now, Kalou is focused on helping Chelsea try to stage an improbable comeback in the Premier League title race.

The forward is one of several Chelsea players who have said they believe the 12-point gap to Manchester United, who they beat at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, is surmountable.

Ancelotti, who has previously all but written off his side's chances, said ahead of tonight's trip to Blackpool: "If some players think that we can win the title, I think that it's a good idea because this can give them good motivation. Man United can lose the title."

Ian Holloway, the Blackpool manager, insists he is still enjoying his first season of top-flight management - even if it has left him looking "haggard and jaded".

Blackpool, who were widely tipped to finish bottom of the Premier League, made an impressive start to the 2010/11 campaign and at the turn of the year sat comfortably in mid-table. Their form has stuttered somewhat since January 1, with only two wins recorded from 11 fixtures.

"We've had almost a full season in the Premier League," Holloway said. "I look haggard and jaded but I'm loving every minute of it. It has been absolutely fantastic and I'm proud of how we've tried to acquit ourselves. Some days it has gone horribly wrong, but I've kept my dignity, kept smiling."

* Press Association

Midnight, Abu Dhabi Sports 3 & 5