Fernando Torres: Adapting to the Chelsea way to play

Striker admits to Sam Wallace he's learning how to gel with new team ahead of Europa League tie but says he's young enough to improve

It was a year to the day that Fernando Torres scored for Chelsea in the Nou Camp to put the lid on one of the most famous performances in the club's history and send Gary Neville into unexpected raptures in the commentary box. It was not the goal that won the Champions League semi-final – they were already going through on the basis of Ramires's earlier strike – but it is Torres's greatest moment in a Chelsea shirt.

He hopes that will change one day. He wants to be remembered for more than what he regarded as a bit-part in the journey to Munich and the final itself for which he was a late substitute, then subsequently overlooked for the penalty shoot-out. Torres said that he still believes his best is yet to come at Chelsea.

Against Basle in the Europa League semi-final, Torres is odds on to make his 46th start of the season for the club. Europe's second-best competition is not where they had expected to be at this stage of the season and Torres, with 19 goals this campaign, is not quite where he hoped to be either. But for all the tumult of another crazy season at Chelsea, it is not a disaster – not yet anyway while they remain in contention for a trophy and a place in the Champions League next season.

Two years and three months since his £50m transfer from Liverpool, Torres is still not the player he was in his best years. It is unlikely he will ever be again. Yet for the many times he seems gripped by a black mood on the pitch, he gives the impression of remaining positive about the future and the new Chelsea that he believes will emerge next season – with himself at the heart of it.

Ask Torres about his own performances and the likelihood is that he will answer in terms of the team's performances. He sees the two as one and the same thing, and when the conversation turns to what has clearly been lacking in his own displays, he tends to steer it to less specific points. He recently did his first major newspaper interview to coincide with Chelsea's new kit launch, and the briefing on the flight to Basle was further evidence that the club are succeeding in encouraging him to be more open.

The closest he got to closer self-analysis was when he was asked whether he was a better player this season. "No, not better," he replied. "This season has been better but not at the level I want to be. Not a better player. It's different. We have a different team, a different style, very quick. It's not been an easy season for anyone. New players come and they have been important players for the team. We are adapting to them.

"I think Chelsea has a top team and we always have the ball. There is not as much space as there was last year. Against Barcelona and Bayern [last season] we played very deep, which was good for me. In the Premier League this season our opponents are playing much deeper and it's more difficult for a player like me.

"But it's very good for players like Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar, so it's very good for the team. I just have to adapt. I've been changing my style a lot. Hopefully next season is going to be much better."

He returned to another theme of his: that this current Chelsea team had not yet learnt to play as a cohesive side. "Much of the ability we have here depends on the talents of individuals – Juan, Eden, Oscar and some other players," he said. "We have to learn to become a team, which is different.

"Normally when you're building a team it takes time, and it is coming together. We're playing more as a team, especially in Europe and in some Premier League games as well. We need to stay together and keep improving."

Had Chelsea seen the best of him? "Hopefully not. I hope there's more to come as I'm still young. I want to win many things for this club. We've won the Champions League and could win the Europa League this season, but we can win much more.

"The squad and the players we have are young and we can do great things. I would like to be involved in this team for the next few years. We can become one of the best teams, not just in England, but in Europe."

First of all they will have to win the title, now out of Chelsea's grasp for three seasons, which equals the longest they have gone without winning it since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. "I want to win the Premier League, it's one of the trophies I haven't won," Torres said. "When you see Manchester United's players celebrating you can see how important the Premier League trophy is, and I want to bring it to Chelsea."

He has won the World Cup, the European Championships, the Champions League and the FA Cup, although of those four you could say that he only really played a full part in Euro 2008. With Demba Ba ineligible to play in the Europa League, he will remain the main man as long as Chelsea stay in it. Beyond that, he just has to wait and see.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Sport
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities