Basle loss was key lesson - Torres

24 October 2013 10:46

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres believes the opening Champions League loss to Basle provided a reality check for Jose Mourinho's men which is now paying dividends.

The Swiss side inflicted defeat on the Blues in their first Group E match, ending a 13-match unbeaten run at home in European competition to leave Mourinho's side in danger of a second successive early elimination from the Champions League.

But the 2012 European Cup winners responded with a 4-0 win at Steaua Bucharest and Tuesday night's 3-0 victory at Schalke which took them to the top of the standings.

"We are top of the group again after not the best start of the competition at home against Basle," said Torres, who scored twice in Gelsenkirchen.

"Now we have two games at home, one game away, so we're in the position we wanted.

"These kind of things (defeat to Basle) are good when it happens at the beginning of the season, when the games are not crucial and we have time to fix it, like we have done now.

"When these kind of things happen at the end of the season, you lose competitions, you lose titles and it's not good. Hopefully we've learnt the lesson and it won't happen again.

"This is a young squad. New manager, new style, new players. It's not easy to settle quickly.

"We are on the way. We're improving, we're building up, we're learning as a group."

Chelsea's progress is now in their control ahead of the November 6, Stamford Bridge clash with Schalke, another home game with Steaua and the trip to Basle which concludes the group stage.

"The good thing is we depend on ourselves now," Torres said.

"Three points at home against Schalke and we'll be very close to finishing first in the group.

"When you finish top of the group you know it's much better than finishing second, because you don't have to play against the best teams in the competition.

"We have to learn from the game against Basle at home. We know the game against Schalke is one we have to play to win, it's not won before we play.

"We've learned a lot of good lessons this season as a group."

Chelsea last term suffered the ignominy of becoming the first Champions League holders to exit at the group stage and responded by winning the second-tier Europa League, beating Basle in the semi-finals.

Another European trophy is Torres' target, but again it is the European Cup he covets.

"The Champions League is what Chelsea has to play; Europa League is not a competition we want to win," Torres said.

"We're in the Champions League now, we don't want to be involved in the Europa League again because we want to win the Champions League.

"First step is to finish top of the group, or second, and after that we'll see. It depends on the opponents.

"Sometimes Champions League depends as well on the draw. Sometimes you have an easy way until the semi-final or final; sometimes you have to beat the best teams and you cannot. Let's go step by step. Schalke at home and we'll see later."

Source: PA

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