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West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea: Preview
Published : 15 Apr 2011 23:09:01
Fernando Torres will be a big success at Chelsea despite his poor form since joining the club, according to his former manager Roy Hodgson,
Hodgson's West Brom team face the Blues on Saturday, and the former Liverpool boss has backed Torres to deliver over the long term.
"He's a very good player, a top, top class striker", Hodgson said.
"It's not been a good season by his standards, neither at Liverpool nor at Chelsea, and no one knows that better than Fernando himself.
"But when I watch him play I see someone who's desperate to put that right."
Despite his confidence in Torres, Hodgson is hoping the Spaniard waits another few days before notching his first goal for Chelsea.
"He will put it right, and it would not surprise me if he puts it right in the coming six games," he said.
"I'm desperately hoping, from a selfish point of view, that he starts after Saturday and not on Saturday.
"I think Chelsea have made an excellent signing and I'm certain they're going to get a lot of joy from him."
Rather than a terminal decline, Hodgson added that he saw Torres' current predicament as a mere blip.
He said: "All strikers go through periods where things don't go their way and the ball doesn't bounce for them.
"In that period of time, they take the same amount of criticism as the amount of praise they've had in the past when things have gone their way.
"Fernando's intelligent enough and mature enough to understand that and he'll keep working at his game and he will be a big success for Chelsea football club."
West Brom are unbeaten in seven games, and have take 12 points from the six matches since Hodgson took charge, a statistic that has exceeded even his own expectations.
"It's really good start, but unfortunately we are still in a relegation battle," Hodgson said.
"We were sufficiently immersed seven games ago that even a good run of results like we've had doesn't get you out of it completely."
Carlo Ancelotti insisted Torres would come good for Chelsea in the same way Wayne Rooney had rediscovered his form for Manchester United.
Comparing him to Rooney, who endured a miserable 12 months until hitting top form recently, Ancelotti said: "Obviously he's not happy, and he is disappointed, but it's not easy for him to manage at this moment. He has to show character.
"Rooney lived the same situation: he was not playing well and not scoring, but everyone at the club maintained good confidence with him.
"Everyone believed that he could move on, and he moved very well.
"Now Rooney has come back to playing fantastic football.
"Torres is the same. One goal will give him the opportunity to move on quickly.
"Torres is a fantastic transfer, not just for the present but also the future.
"To judge him now is not right. We have to wait. He will be a fantastic player for the future of Chelsea."