Carlo Ancelotti backed £50million striker Fernando Torres to come good after his Chelsea side lost their UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of the game as Torres was booked for diving. The Chelsea striker, signed from Liverpool in the January transfer window, has now played more than ten hours of football without a goal.
Asked why Ancelotti kept Torres on for the entire match and substituted Didier Drogba for Nicolas Anelka, Ancelotti said: “We have to have confidence. He (Torres) has to have confidence and keep going and he’ll score. I wanted to play differently. Drogba worked very hard in this game after playing 90 minutes on Saturday, so for this reason I kept Torres on the pitch.”
Ancelotti insisted he would not rest players against Wigan in the Premier League at the weekend. He said: “Our focus is to play against Wigan and to win, to take confidence and three points in the table. We don’t have a problem physically. We’ll have time to focus for the game at Old Trafford.”
Despite Ancelotti’s disappointment he was generous in his praise of Rooney, who emerged from the spotlight caused by his four-letter outburst at Upton Park last weekend to turn in a superb performance, capped by a clinical finish. Ancelotti said: “He’s a fantastic player and my players knew that. He played really well, scored a goal and worked very hard for the team. Absolutely fantastic.”