Juan Mata is adamant Fernando Torres will eventually come good for Chelsea after watching the Â£50million man fail to take advantage of his long-awaited recall.
Torres endured another day to forget in Monday's 1-1 west London derby draw against Fulham, his first Barclays Premier League start for almost two months. Mata insists it will only be a matter of time before his fellow Spaniard and good friend justifies his transfer fee in earnest.
"Fernando is working hard every day in training and, for sure, the goal arrives soon," Mata said. "Fernando always has the goals and, for sure, for Chelsea he has to score a lot of goals."
Manager Andre Villas-Boas appeared to have hand picked the match for the most expensive player ever transferred between British clubs to rebuild his shattered confidence.
But apart from a decent volley he hit straight at goalkeeper David Stockdale and a clumsy assist for Mata's opening goal, Torres looked as lost in a Chelsea shirt as he had ever done since January's record-breaking move from Liverpool.
It remains to be seen whether Villas-Boas persists with Torres for Saturday's visit of Aston Villa but Chelsea are running out of games before Didier Drogba departs on African Nations Cup duty. The weeks Drogba is away in January and early February looks set to be Torres' big chance to play himself back into form.
Villas-Boas recently rubbished reports Chelsea were running out of patience with the 27-year-old but they can ill afford to carry a passenger during that period, despite Villas-Boas all but conceding the title on Monday.
A hat-trick of 1-1 draws has put the Blues' top four spot back in jeopardy and they will drop out of the Champions League places if Arsenal beat Wolves on Tuesday afternoon.
Mata said: "It is going to be very difficult because there are lot of teams and they are having very good seasons, like Arsenal, like Tottenham, like Liverpool, so we have to fight.
"Our next game is another that we have to win but Aston Villa is a very good team. We wanted to achieve the six points in our two home games but against Fulham we got one, and we hope to win three points against Aston Villa."