Yossi Benayoun has insisted Fernando Torres remains "the best striker in the world", despite seeing the Spaniard extend his goal drought.
Torres has gone 817 minutes - more than 13-and-a-half hours - without scoring for club and country, with his misery continuing in Chelsea's 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Wigan.
The 27-year-old wasted a golden chance to begin repaying his record-breaking £50million price tag in the final minutes at Stamford Bridge when Benayoun put the ball on a plate for him. But his rasping finish was close enough to Ali Al Habsi to allow the goalkeeper to make a fine reaction save.
Torres' rueful smile masked his lack of confidence, with the former Liverpool star in danger of becoming one of the most expensive flops in football history. But team-mate Benayoun, who also played alongside Torres at Anfield for three years until last summer, was adamant the striker would come good.
"For any midfielder, it is great to play with a player like Fernando," said Benayoun, who came off the bench for his first Chelsea appearance for almost six months yesterday following a serious Achilles injury. "For me, he is the best striker in the world.
"We have three very good strikers in (Didier) Drogba, (Nicolas) Anelka and him. For any midfielder, it is easy to play with him and I think he will score a lot of goals because he's just quality."