Fernando Torres is 'tremendous team player'

With John Terry set to return, Chelsea interim boss Roberto Di Matteo says he is happy with Torres's contribution.

    John Terry (R) returns to the team as Fernando Torres (L) looks to end his long run without scoring [GALLO/GETTY]

    Chelsea captain John Terry is set to return for Saturday's match at home to Stoke City after missing the last six
    weeks and undergoing knee surgery.

    Terry, who has not played since January 28, was an unused substitute for Chelsea's midweek FA Cup replay victory over Birmingham City.

    "He has trained well after Tuesday and is available," Chelsea's interim manager Roberto Di Matteo said on Friday.

    "It's great for the team, because he is our leader and a very important player."

    Di Matteo said he has a fully-fit playing squad for only the second time this season, including left back Ashley Cole, who missed Tuesday's game with an ankle injury.

    "Going forward with important games coming up I am very pleased to have everybody available," he said.

    Player of value

    Di Matteo also backed beleaguered Spanish striker Fernando Torres to end a wretched goal drought stretching back
    24 games to October.

    "He (Torres) is a tremendous team player, a fantastic guy and we value him very much," Di Matteo said.

    Torres has struggled to find form since joining Chelsea from Liverpool [GALLO/GETTY]

    "He trains hard and he had a great game in my opinion on Tuesday night," the Italian said in reference to the 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round replay win at second tier Birmingham City.

    "The only thing he lacked was a goal but I don't really care who scores the goals in my team. For me it's about the team ethic," said Di Matteo. 

    "The goals will come for him. Everyone has moments when things don't go as they want - it's part of life."

    Di Matteo said he was not concerned that Torres appeared to turn down compatriot Juan Mata's offer for him to take a
    second-half penalty against Birmingham.

    "We've got designated penalty takers and it was Mata on Tuesday," said the former Italy and Chelsea midfielder.

    "It was simple and Mata followed instructions."

    Di Matteo took over last Sunday when Portuguese Andre Villas-Boas was sacked after a sequence of one victory in seven matches in all competitions.
    He said everyone had to take their share of the blame for Villas-Boas's sacking.

    "It has been a collective responsibility," added Di Matteo.

    "We all know we are fifth in the table and we have obviously made mistakes.

    "I know we are strong and we have a good team and we want to show we are better than where we are at the moment. We have to win games - it's that simple."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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