Torres' signing result of Chelsea's Champions League obsession: Ferguson

Chelsea's signing of Fernando Torres shows how obsessed the club is about winning the Champions League, according to Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.

Updated: April 12, 2011 15:20 IST
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Manchester: Chelsea's signing of Fernando Torres shows how obsessed the club is about winning the Champions League, according to Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.

The 50 million-pound ($80 million) signing of Torres came in January as Chelsea's hopes of winning a trophy were fading.

Now Europe offers the last realistic route to glory for a Chelsea side that is 11 points behind United in the Premier League title race and must overturn a 1-0 deficit at Old Trafford on Tuesday in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Chelsea, which is owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, has never won Europe's top prize before, having lost the 2008 final to United in a penalty shootout and endured four semifinal exits.

"It seems to be an obsession for them to win the European Cup and that's certainly why they signed Torres," Ferguson said Monday. "Abramovich has nailed his colors to the mast in that respect."

Ferguson took charge of United in 1986 but took 13 years to produce the club's first European Cup since 1968.

"To have an obsession of winning the European Cup is stretching yourself a wee bit," Ferguson said. "I had that obsession myself for a time, losing semifinals and thinking we were never going to do it so when we did it in Barcelona (against Bayern Munich in 1999) it was the greatest feeling the world and it took the monkey off my back."

Torres hasn't scored in 10 matches for Chelsea to date. Manager Carlo Ancelotti said the Spain striker will play some part on Tuesday, but didn't reveal if he will be paired again from the start with Didier Drogba after they failed to find the net in the home leg.

"You have to be patient and (Torres) will start scoring for us," midfielder Michael Essien said. "We are not concerned — we know (the goals) will come and he has been working hard."

Ancelotti insisted that Torres "isn't getting pressure from us."

What could help Torres is linking up with former Liverpool teammate Yossi Benayoun, who is returning to fitness for Chelsea after seven month out with an Achilles tendon injury.

"Yossi knows Fernando very well and he knows his movement," Ancelotti said. "For this reason it can be an advantage to play with Fernando."

Torres couldn't pick a better time than Tuesday's high-stakes game to open his account, with Benayoun conceding that "we are playing to save our season."

"Chelsea proved the last few years that they can score at Old Trafford," Benayoun said. "Man United like to attack at home but now maybe they will have to stay a little bit back because they are 1-0 up so maybe that will work for us better. We will do our best to create chances and win the game."

United will be welcoming Wayne Rooney back into the team. The striker started a two-match domestic suspension on Saturday against Fulham for swearing into a TV camera.

"Rooney is the most dangerous player in their squad," Ancelotti said. "We have to pay attention to his position ... but we won't change our shape or our philosophy to control Rooney."

Ferguson's main concern is over the fitness of right back Rafael da Silva, who is recovering from a knee injury sustained in last Wednesday's first leg.

"Rafael did a bit of jogging this morning," Ferguson said. "Hopefully he will be able to be ready for tomorrow but I am not sure about it. There is a little doubt and it is not something I want to be risking in a major game. He really has to do something special tomorrow morning to change my mind about it."

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