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It's all in his head: Di Matteo blames 'psychological problem' for Torres form

The Spaniard, who arrived at Stamford Bridge for a record £50million, has scored just five goals since joining the Blues last January.

Image: John Walton/EMPICS Sport

CHELSEA INTERIM BOSS Roberto Di Matteo admits out-of-touch striker Fernando Torres has a ‘psychological problem’.

The Spaniard, who arrived at Stamford Bridge for a record £50million, has scored just five goals since joining the Blues last January.

Torres did not feature in the 1-0 win over Stoke City at the weekend after a less than impressive outing in Chelsea’s 2-0 FA Cup replay victory at Birmingham City last Tuesday and is just 23 playing minutes away from a scoreless 24 hours.

Di Matteo admits the 27-year-old’s problems lie in his mental state and insists only the player can resolve the matter. The Italian told reporters: “He has a psychological problem and only Fernando can unlock it.

“If he needs me, I am always here but it is obvious the change must come from him. He must not think about how much he cost the club.

“He must concentrate only on playing and not about scoring, or providing an assist or making a great play every time he touches the ball. He should not think about scoring goals, only about playing simple football. The rest will take care of itself.”

The coach and former Blues player believes the ex-Liverpool man is still a top striker and just needs to regain some confidence to start performing at the highest level again.

“My approach with Fernando will always be a natural one. Fernando is still a great striker and I am sure he has not forgotten how to score goals.  He is one of the strongest forwards in the world. He has scored so many goals in recent years and I’m sure he will continue to do so in the future. He will succeed because he is still young.

“He just needs to regain his confidence.”

Meanwhile, Di Matteo has torn up the training plans Andre Villas-Boas had laid out for the team’s Champions League last-16 second-leg tie against Napoli, according to The Mirror. The Portuguese manager was sacked just over a week ago, with the Blues’ loss to West Brom proving the last straw for owner Roman Abramovich and he removed the former Porto boss after less than nine months in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea, who have not won any of their last five knockout games at home in European competition and have a 3-1 deficit to overturn on Wednesday, were ordered by Villas-Boas to train in a morning session at their Cobham base before a Champions League fixture.

Going into the game with the Serie A outfit, Di Matteo’s has apparently decided to move the session forward to Tuesday night, clashing with Napoli’s pre-match press conference.

‘We cannot allow ourselves to think we are the best’ – Vincente Del Bosque

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