Chelsea Target "Top Four" As Torres Stinks

Chelsea’s £50m striker Fernando Torres flopped again as a 0-0 draw at Fulham all but ended their hopes of retaining the Premier League title. Manager Carlo Ancelotti dropped Didier Drogba to play the British record signing in his favourite formation, but ended up subbing the former Liverpool star after a miserable 71 minutes. Only a dramatic injury time penalty save by Petr Cech rescued the champions from defeat after their other £25m new boy David Luiz brought down Clint Dempsey.

Ancelotti tried to defend Torres by insisting he’d improved on his disastrous debut against his old club, even though he did not muster a single shot on target during another disappointing display.

The Chelsea boss said, "Fernando played well. He used his ability to move. He had some opportunities in the first half and I took him out just to use Didier fresh and with power. His performance was better than that against Liverpool. It was a normal rotation. We wanted to have more control of the pitch in this game and to use the width in the second half. Maybe in the next game we will use both."

"Every striker wants to score. I don’t think he’s frustrated because he needs time to play with us and, after one week, he was really better tonight after that first performance. I don’t know if Didier was happy, but every player knows every game is important. It doesn’t matter. We wanted to rotate to maintain his condition and to give everyone great motivation."

Chelsea are two points behind Tottenham Hotspur with 12 games left to play, but Ancelotti remains optimistic his side can finish in the top four. He said, "The most important thing is to finish in the top four. I think we will be able to do this if we play like we did tonight. I’m an optimist and there’s good reason to have confidence."

Fulham boss Mark Hughes said, "Given the circumstances at the end, it’s disappointment. It was a real opportunity to beat a very good side at the end. The penalty should have been retaken anyway because Drogba was encroaching in the box. (Referee) Mike Dean saw it as he was alongside Clint when he kicked it."

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