Chelsea 3 - 0 West Ham: Net relief for Fernando Torres
Chelsea 3 Lampard 44; Torres 84; Malouda 90 West Ham United 0
Fernando Torres felt the pressure lift from his shoulders after finally scoring his first goal for Chelsea.
The 50 million man ended his 15-hour goal drought for club and country just eight minutes after coming off the bench in the champions' 3-0 Barclays Premier League win over West Ham.
Torres was in danger of becoming the most expensive flop in the history of football after failing to score in his first 13 matches since signing from Liverpool almost three months ago.
But the Spain striker said: "It was not the beginning I was expecting when I signed, but it's not easy to go in January or February. I kept working and it's thanks to all my team-mates that I scored. There's less pressure for me now, now I can enjoy it."
Luck appeared to have deserted Torres as he raced on to Nicolas Anelka's pass in the 84th minute yesterday, the ball getting stuck in a near-waterlogged pitch, but it proved a blessing in disguise as the 27-year-old swivelled and fired left-footed into the corner of the net.
"The pitch was not the best to score the goal, but football is like this," Torres added.
The goal sparked jubilant scenes in which Torres was mobbed by every one of his outfield team-mates. Stamford Bridge also erupted, the Chelsea fans having never lost faith in their record signing.
"The fans have been very patient with me," Torres said. "I had more and more anxiety for them than for me. Hopefully this is the first of many."
Torres replaced Didier Drogba, who was not on the field when the moment everyone had been waiting for finally arrived.
"I was in the changing room and I wanted to run and jump on as well," Drogba said. "We know we have a great player here, next season is going to go well for him."
Manager Carlo Ancelotti was thrilled for Torres, who he insisted last week would open his account before the end of the season. He said: "It was a fantastic moment. It will help him move on quickly.
"I think that the bad moment is gone and now his future will be fantastic here, at this club with his team-mates.
"He needed to score to move from this moment. He scored and the next game will be, for him, really better."
Ancelotti would have feared the worst when the ball got stuck in the mud and he added: "He was unlucky there but it was fantastic to move quickly, to come back and to shoot well."
Torres had been relegated to the bench for three successive games, with Drogba's superior form impossible to ignore.The pair have failed to strike up an understanding when they have played together but Ancelotti hinted he might field both against Tottenham next week.
"Considering the performance of Didier today, considering that Fernando scored, we have to try to put both together," he said. "We have one week to train, we can try and I think that I will take a decision for the next game."
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