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The change in manager at Chelsea seems to have given a fresh lease of life to under-fire Fernando Torres, who has improved markedly over the last month. With many of the Stamford Bridge fans and the media slating the Spaniard over the course of the season for his inability to hit the back of the net, the forward’s future was unclear. However, it looks like the £50 million man’s destiny may well be tied in with that of Roberto Di Matteo – the man who has seemingly restored Torres’ confidence.

Given the extortionate fee shelled out in January 2011 to bring Torres to Stamford Bridge, and his undeniably impressive footballing CV with Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Spain, Blues supporters were right to expect a whirlwind entrance from their latest signing. However, for one reason or another, it just hasn’t worked out for Torres in west London and the forward’s paultry goalscoring record is simply not good enough for a club the size of Chelsea.

Many questioned whether Torres would be sold on at a cut-price, and the latest rumours link Roma, Juventus and Anzhi Makhachkala with summer moves for the inconsistent frontman. However, form is temporary and class is permanent.

The shoots of recovery have been evident over the last number of weeks, as El Nino looks closer to the sprightly attacker that terrorised defences up and down the land for Liverpool. The player’s work-rate has never been in question, and it is clear that Torres is trying to get back to his best. The Spaniard started against Benfica in the Champions League in midweek and looked lively throughout, creating the only goal of the game for Salomon Kalou in a 1-0 win. Interestingly, Torres is third in the assists list for this season’s Champions League.

All that is missing is his shooting boots. Torres’ work-rate, runs off the ball and ability to create opportunities for others are back to what a Chelsea fan would expect. Unfortunately for him, strikers are judged by the number of goals they score, and in this he has obviously been lacking. Torres has claimed that his confidence has improved after feeling trusted by Di Matteo, and the Italian coach will now have a big role in where Torres’ future lies.

If Di Matteo continues to give Torres a run in the team ahead of Didier Drogba, the Spaniard will start to score and could hit his straps for the start of next season. If he is constantly in and out of the team, and played in different positions when he does get a chance, Torres will not be able to build momentum, and may well leave Chelsea. However, the smart Chelsea fan will hope that their side stick with the striker, as his scoring record is sure to improve if he is given a consistent chance.

By Gareth McKnight

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