With his Chelsea FC side gearing up for their UEFA Champions League quarter-final decider at Old Trafford, midfielder Michael Essien backed his team-mate Fernando Torres to find his feet in front of goal.
Torres has failed to register in three UEFA Champions League outings and seven Premier League appearances since joining from Liverpool FC for €57.5m in January, but Essien has no doubt that the Spanish international will return to form – and preferably against Manchester United FC as Chelsea look to recover from last week's 1-0 first-leg defeat.
"We're not concerned," said Essien. "He's been working really hard in training and matches and we know [the goals] are going to come. Torres and [Didier] Drogba are different types of strikers. Sometimes you have to change your style to adapt to different players, but we know ‘Nando' well now. We'll keep trying to feed him and he'll come good."
Old Trafford is likely to spark positive memories for Torres as he found the net and proved hugely influential there in a 4-1 Premier League win for Liverpool in March 2009. With that in mind, Essien believes the striker will prove an excellent addition to a squad aiming to win the UEFA Champions League for the first time.
"I think Nando is one of the best strikers in Europe and the world at the moment and, once he starts scoring, all the talk will stop," he added. "He just needs time to settle at a new club. The players know he'll deliver."
Singing from the same hymn sheet was Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti. "Fernando will play," he said. "I'm not sure if he'll start, but he'll play. I'm not interested in whether he scores or not; I'm interested in Chelsea winning – that's what matters. We're not putting him under pressure; we want him to play for the team, the squad and his team-mates. I never ask my strikers to score a goal, I ask them to work for the team."
"It's always difficult to come to Old Trafford," concluded Essien, who has made seven Champions League appearances this campaign. "To win, we'll have to be the best team – that's what we'll try to do. We take every game as it comes and tomorrow we just have to do our best to get to the semi-finals. To do that, we need to step up our game and try and win."
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