LONDON - Being dropped could provide
Chelsea striker Fernando Torres with extra motivation to turn
his game around, manager Andre Villas-Boas said on the eve of
Tuesday's Champions League home tie with Bayer Leverkusen.
The misfiring Spaniard, who has scored just one goal since
his record 50 million pounds move from
Liverpool in January, was relegated to the bench for Saturday's
2-1 win at Sunderland and has no guarantee of a recall for the
"I think any player who's not part of the squad or part of
the selected players is not happy," Villas-Boas told a news
conference on Monday without saying whether he planned to field
Torres against the German side at Stamford Bridge.
"I'm glad because maybe you can stimulate them to go one
step further or motivate them a bit more."
Chelsea are also investigating an interview Torres gave to a
Spanish website last week where he appeared to suggest some of
his older team mates were "very slow".
He has said he was misquoted but Villas-Boas wants to listen
to a recording to make up his own mind.
Asked what action he would take if Torres had made the
criticism, the Portuguese said they would "just talk" although
the player could be fined if the interview had not been
authorised by the club.
Whether Torres plays on Tuesday or not could be part of
Villas-Boas's broader policy that squad rotation is going to be
key to success in Europe's elite club competition.
Coveted by club owner Roman Abramovich, who has invested
millions of pounds trying to create a team who can win it for
the first time, the Champions League is harder to win than the
World Cup according to Villas-Boas.
"The Champions League is more difficult because it is an
'in-between' competition," the Portuguese explained.
"It is a more difficult task because it requires more of the
players' talent and more of the manager's awareness to rotate a
couple of them, keep everybody fresh, to motivate everybody."
Villas-Boas added strength in depth in squads was vital and
that with so many clubs having just that it was again going to
be a tough competition this year.
"It is regular that the team who wins the Champions League
normally wins their domestic title so you really have to balance
the amount of minutes the players have, plus the recovery they
should be allowed for the squad to be fresh in both
competitions," he said.
"For that to happen you need the best available talent you
can get and there are a lot of teams that have these in-depth
squads in Europe this season."
One player Villas-Boas must do without on Tuesday is Ivory
Coast striker Didier Drogba who was concussed in an aerial
challenge in the game against Norwich City two weeks ago.
"Didier did some damage to his teeth when he fell to the
ground and we decided to give him some days off," the manager
said. "Hopefully he will return against Manchester United on
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