Andre Villas-Boas has claimed Fernando Torres would be mentally weak if he had allowed Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba to intimidate him.
Villas-Boas was confident Torres had not become the latest Blues striker to be "devoured" by Drogba, as Carlo Ancelotti claimed this week. Ancelotti, who Villas-Boas succeeded as Chelsea manager last summer, insisted Drogba had to be sold for Torres to flourish at Stamford Bridge.
But Villas-Boas has rejected Ancelotti's analysis, saying: "It would be unfair for a player of Fernando's personality and dimension to conclude that one is inflicting on the other one's belief. If that was the case with any player, it would be a mental weakness or a mental block, which is not the case in my opinion."
Ancelotti picked Torres ahead of Drogba after the Spaniard's record-breaking £50million move from Liverpool almost a year ago, but soon recalled his rival.
Villas-Boas began his own reign with Torres as his first-choice striker, but the 27-year-old only began scoring when Drogba was out injured.
He then lost his place again to the Ivorian before being restored to the starting line-up following Drogba's departure for African Nations Cup duty.
With Drogba again out of the picture, Torres has begun to find his form once more.
But Villas-Boas insisted the only link between the two was "the fact that it's one less competitor for a position", rather than anything more sinister.
Villas-Boas compared Torres' lot to that of £27million Edin Dzeko at Manchester City, with the latter also finding himself dropped despite a far greater goal return.
"We have a player like Dzeko with plenty of goals but he's not used all the time by City," Villas-Boas said. "The numbers, statistically, are impressive for Dzeko. He had scored 10 goals in the first few weeks of the season. But (City boss Roberto) Mancini feels others offer something positive and different for the team."