Beating Barcelona to the Liga title with a record 100 points, winning the treble with Inter Milan and winning the league with Chelsea for the first time in 50 years. All massive achievements for Jose Mourinho, but could he be about to accomplish one to beat them all?
To beat the above list, you could be forgiven for thinking that said accomplishment would be to become the President of the USA, such is their impressiveness, but actually it is something much more challenging.
Many have tried and failed before Jose: the Interim One, Rafa Benitez was even brought in specifically to finally sort the problem out.
What is this issue you may wonder? The answer is a simple one, and one that has haunted Chelsea since a £50 million purchase.
How on earth to get the best out of Fernando Torres?
He was easily one of the best forwards in the world at Liverpool and at the time, probably was worth what Chelsea paid for him. His decline almost as soon as the ink had dried on the contract however was astounding.
Torres became the figure of ridicule. Missing an open goal would be known as ‘doing a Torres.’ Paddy Power even went as far as to put an advert up outside of Stamford Bridge mocking the Spanish International.
We have all seen the stats, the misses and the petulance shown by Torres. At times, Chelsea looked like they were playing with ten men. The forward did not want to be on the field – and certainly did not want to be wearing the blue of Chelsea.
Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas Boas, Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez all failed to bring the best out of Torres. The forward did have some moments to remember in a Chelsea shirt – scoring at the Camp Nou to secure the Blue’s passage to the Champions League final in Munich has to be the pick of the bunch – and a small bunch it is.
Even the manager who he played under at Liverpool, Benitez, was stuck for ideas and could not bring Torres out of his hole. Called the ‘weakest character in any dressing room I have ever managed’ by Carlo Ancelotti, Torres looked to be the first casualty of Mourinho’s second coming.
That has been anything but the case, with Mourinho managing – God only knows how – to instil the one thing Torres has been lacking throughout his entire Chelsea career. Confidence.
Not only that, but Torres actually looks like he wants the ball now. Yes, Joe Hart has to take a long hard look at himself after the winning goal scored by Torres, but the simple fact that the forward bothered to chase the ball, and as his manager put it, ‘believed’ he could score speaks volumes. Six months ago that would never have happened.
Torres still has it in him to miss screamers – and prompt Gary Neville to despair ‘oh Fernando,’ but again, vitally, six months ago, after missing such a chance, Torres would have been more visible for the rest of the game had he been wearing Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility. Not under Mourinho however.
Torres both picked himself up and encouraged the crowd to get on board to boot. He was rewarded not only with the assist for the opening goal but the winning goal.
Of course credit has to go to Jose Mourinho, not only for keeping Torres on for the 90, something that does not happen very much when he is wearing a Chelsea shirt, but for whatever he has said to the forward since his arrival at the Bridge.
The manager himself played down talk of his involvement in Torres’ revival, noting that as much as he would love to put it down to himself, it is Torres who has worked hard since day one, and who deserves the chance that he has been given. He spoke about Torres after the game and lavished praise on the forward. He claimed: “Everything that happened (with Torres) came after he missed the easy chance,
“(It was) amazing. When you are a player and you make a mistake you are finished for the game.
“After that you saw the best Fernando. He won the first goal and worked unbelievably for the team.”
Torres now pressures teams. He makes defenders earn their money during the match. Last season, not only did he fail to score, but he failed to do anything. Now he works, assists, scores, lifts the team and harasses defenders. He actually looks like he wants success and goals again. Finally Fernando has motivation, and it is showing.
Clearly Torres is Mourinho’s man of the moment, but quite if that was the case from day one is debatable.
Mourinho dropped Torres, elected to start other players ahead of him and did not trust him to last the whole game. Add to that the chase for Wayne Rooney and bringing in Samuel Eto’o and you have to question if this was Mourinho’s hope all along, or just a last ditch attempt to get something out of a forward whose confidence was clearly at rock bottom.
Either way, the magic of Mourinho seems to be working again – much to the relief of Chelsea fans and Fernando Torres himself one would assume!
Is Torres on his way back? Let us know your thoughts below.