Chelsea v Schalke: Fernando Torres a doubt for Champions League tie with thigh injury

Thigh problem curtails training and means Eto’o set to start in Champions League

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The Independent Football

Fernando Torres is a major doubt for Chelsea for Wednesday’s Champions League group game against Schalke having pulled out of training on Monday morning with a thigh problem after struggling in Saturday’s league defeat to Newcastle United.

Torres, 29, was sent home from training at the club’s Cobham headquarters having played a small part in the morning session. He had  reported discomfort in his leg when he came into train in the morning and lasted only 62 minutes of the club’s defeat at St James’ Park where he was replaced by Samuel Eto’o.

Chelsea are hopeful that Torres will be fit for Saturday’s trip to West Bromwich Albion. His start to the season has been reasonable, with a return of five goals in 11 games across all competitions, only eight of which have been starts.

His winning goal against Manchester City nine days ago followed two against Schalke in the away fixture.

Given that Torres is sharing the striking duties with Eto’o it is likely he would not have started tomorrow’s game. However, he will be anxious to be named in the Spain squad this week with competition from the naturalised Brazilian, Diego Costa.

Chelsea suffered their first home defeat of the second Mourinho era, to Basel in September and while two subsequent victories over Steaua Bucharest and Schalke have stabilised the team’s progress in Group E, a victory would put them on nine points, and within touching distance of qualification. After tomorrow their next game is away to Basel on 26 November.

Mourinho told the club’s website that his team needed to win against Schalke. He said: “We are in a stable position to qualify in the Champions League but if we lose again we are in a difficult position, so Wednesday is an important game for us.”

With five wins at home in the league this season, Chelsea have won only once away in the league, against Norwich City. In Europe, they have fared much better on the road with wins away in Bucharest and Gelsenkirchen. Mourinho said: “At home [in the league], five games, five victories and away, five matches, one victory, two defeats.

“We can also say that we played away in very difficult stadiums. We played at Manchester United, Tottenham, Newcastle and Everton, we played in probably the most difficult places to go, but I have to analyse it by another perspective which is the perspective of why we don’t do better, and why especially on Saturday because that was  the worst.

“I will make changes [against Schalke]. Not 11 changes because that would be too much, but changes for sure. I don’t know my best team because we have this kind of performance.

“I know basically which is my best team but it depends on the way we perform because performances and results push you for decisions.”