CHELSEA manager Andre Villas-Boas revealed Fernando Torres has no case to answer despite the alleged controversial comments he made about his team-mates after the Spaniard played a leading role in his side’s Champions League win over Bayer Leverkusen.
The build-up to last night’s game was dominated by the former Liverpool striker’s assessment, which appeared on his personal website, that Chelsea’s squad was populated by “older” and “very slow” players.
Despite the furore created by his supposed frank verdict, Torres was handed the opportunity to let his feet do the talking by Villas-Boas, having been benched for the weekend victory at Sunderland.
And although he was unable to repay his manager’s faith with an illusive goal, Torres created the second-half chances, accepted by David Luiz and Juan Mata, which ensured Chelsea got their latest assault on the Champions League off to a winning start.
“We had a chat and the situation is solved. The investigation is over,” Villas-Boas said.
“You saw the player involved and he put in a good collective performance, like the team did.
“Hopefully these things won’t arise in the group again. If they do, it will be the manager who has to resolve it.”
After an eventful start, which saw both teams have goals disallowed inside the opening five minutes, the match petered out into something of a stalemate.
Indeed it was former Chelsea star Michael Ballack who had the best opportunity of the game after the break when, with the scores still level, he fired straight at Petr Cech’s legs when put clean through.
Chelsea were in need of inspiration and it was provided by their elaborately coiffured central defender Luiz with 23 minutes remaining.
The Brazil international curled Torres’ lay-off into the bottom
corner and the points were secured
in injury-time by Mata from close range.
The result provided vindication of Villas-Boas’ daring team selection, which saw stalwarts Frank Lampard and John Terry both left out.
And the Chelsea supremo insisted his England internationals will have to get used to periods of inactivity as a result of his squad rotation policy.
“It’s just fairness compared to the amount of talent that we have at our disposal,” he said. “It would be a mistake for me not to try and keep everybody motivated.
“I don’t see any braveness in it. I’m sure the players have not suffered from it as a result in the past.”
KEY MOMENTS | BLUES CRUISE
3 mins: Chelsea were lucky to see Simon Rolfes’ header ruled out, but they raced up the other end and had a goal of their own chalked off. Torres’ clever flick was headed goalwards but Raul Meireles, standing in an offside position, helped the ball on its way.
67 mins: David Luiz finally produced the moment of inspiration Chelsea had been searching for when he charged into Leverkusen’s half, shipped the ball onto Torres and dispatched the Spaniard’s return pass into the bottom corner with flashing drive.
90 mins: For a man desperate for a goal, Torres showed commendable unselfishness when, provided with the perfect opportunity to score his first goal of the season, he rolled the ball to the impressive Juan Mata who tapped in from close range.