Latest Transfer Update at 20-01-2012
Fernando Torres: Support from Andre Villas-Boas
TORRES SUPPORTED BY VILLAS-BOAS
Andre Villas-Boas has claimed Fernando Torres would be mentally weak if he had allowed Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba to intimidate him.
Villas-Boas was confident Torres had not become the latest Blues striker to be "devoured" by Drogba, as Carlo Ancelotti claimed this week.
Ancelotti, who Villas-Boas succeeded as Chelsea manager last summer, insisted Drogba had to be sold for Torres to flourish at Stamford Bridge.
But Villas-Boas rejected Ancelotti's analysis on Thursday afternoon, saying: "It would be unfair for a player of Fernando's personality and dimension to conclude that one is inflicting on the other one's belief.
"If that was the case with any player, it would be a mental weakness or a mental block, which is not the case in my opinion."
Ancelotti picked Torres ahead of Drogba after the Spaniard's record-breaking £50million move from Liverpool almost a year ago, but soon recalled his rival.
Villas-Boas began his own reign with Torres as his first-choice striker, but the 27-year-old only began scoring when Drogba was out injured.
He then lost his place again to the Ivorian before being restored to the starting line-up following Drogba's departure for African Nations Cup duty.
With Drogba again out of the picture, Torres has begun to find his form once more.
But Villas-Boas insisted the only link between the two was "the fact that it's one less competitor for a position", rather than anything more sinister.
Villas-Boas compared Torres' lot to that of £27million Edin Dzeko at Manchester City, with the latter also finding himself dropped despite a far greater goal return.
"We have a player like Dzeko with plenty of goals but he's not used all the time by City," Villas-Boas said.
"The numbers, statistically, are impressive for Dzeko.
"He had scored 10 goals in the first few weeks of the season.
"But (City boss Roberto) Mancini feels others offer something positive and different for the team."
He added of Torres, who has netted only five times in almost year at Chelsea and not for three months: "It hurts everybody in the sense of goal statistics but he's doing tremendously for the team.
"He's a striker with a hunger for goals who wants to be in the box.
"We've seen him in the box, we've seen him arrive and create danger.
"As long as he's working well for the team, I don't care how the statistics will finish and how dramatic people think they are."
Torres was by far the most expensive signing in Chelsea's history and highlighted again the club's preference for spending big rather than for promoting within.
Villas-Boas claimed the only way to ensure a conveyor belt of young talent for the first team was to revolutionise the structure of English football.
Calling for Chelsea to be allowed to field a B team in the npower Championship, Villas-Boas said: "The youth development system in England is not right.
"The reserve team league is not competitive. The youth levels are not competitive enough.
"In my opinion, there is a missed link between age groups in all competitions.
"They should be national championships played between teams from around the country. The older ones should play nationally. The younger ones should play regionally.
"It is that which generates talent."
Spanish clubs are allowed to field B sides in lower divisions, with both Barcelona and Real Madrid doing so.
"If the European model is applied in England, it could be tested," Villas-Boas said.
"The reserve team, for all the people who work hard, is not competitive.
"It serves the first team, but it doesn't serve the progression of talent coming through."
What about using a feeder club instead?
"It could be a solution," Villas-Boas said.
"There is more of a cultural identity if it's called a B team. It's the same name, the same environment.
"If it's a feeder club, I couldn't call a player up to my first team until the transfer window opens.
"What happens in Barcelona B is a good model in terms of competitions."
John Terry was the last academy player to become a first-team regular at Chelsea, who regularly send out their youngsters on loan, often to no avail.
Villas-Boas insisted that was down to the players themselves.
"If they're unable to triumph over there, it can't just be a manager's decision," he said.
"They have to show they are capable of triumphing in a difficult environment.
"It is never a good option if you come back early - it means something went wrong."