Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has sprung to the defence of Fernando Torres after the misfiring striker came in for more criticism.
Di Matteo denied £50million man Torres was enduring another crisis of confidence after managing barely a shot on target in his last three matches, all of which the Blues were unable to win.
Torres has endured plenty of criticism since joining Chelsea from Liverpool, but former Blues manager Ruud Gullit’s outspoken attack this week perhaps carries extra significance because of the Dutchman’s place in Stamford Bridge folklore.
Gullit, who masterminded the club’s first trophy success of the modern era as well as bringing Di Matteo to English football, said it sometimes felt “like Chelsea are playing with 10 men” after Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League draw with Juventus.
He added: “For me, he must do more. You give him the benefit of the doubt because he is a nice guy and blah blah blah, but it is not good enough.
“At the moment, he is an enigma. He has to start performing and quickly. It is becoming annoying.”
But Di Matteo said: “We’re happy with him. Even when he doesn’t score, he provides and works hard for the team and he’s always an outlet for us.
“At the moment, there is no issue for us.”
Torres appears to have gone back into his shell after confidently declaring last month his Chelsea nightmare was at an end.
That followed three goals in the opening four games of the season and Di Matteo added: “He’s full of confidence and he’s playing and he’s playing well and he’s scoring goals; not in the last couple of games but he’s scored.
“He’s always busy, keeping defenders busy and moving and doing the right stuff. I don’t see any problem you are talking about.”
With Daniel Sturridge out injured, Torres is currently Chelsea’s only recognised centre-forward.
That means they cannot substitute him unless they were to play one of their midfielders out of position.
There is also the prospect of playing with a so-called ‘false nine’ as Spain do.
But Di Matteo said: “That’s not in discussion at the moment. We have a forward and we’re happy with our forward.
“Hopefully, Daniel Sturridge will be fit and back soon as well. At the moment, our system is playing with a forward.”