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Premier League

Andre Villas-Boas defends Fernando Torres after striker passes 1,000-minutes without a goal


Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas insists he still believes in Fernando Torres despite seeing the striker go past the 1,000-minute mark since his last goal.

The Spaniard once again drew a blank in last night's 1-1 draw with Swansea at the Liberty Stadium as he marked the anniversary of his £50million move to the Blues with another anonymous performance.

Torres has scored just five goals since his big-money move from Liverpool, and he has not found the net in the 17 matches since he got on the scoresheet in the Champions League win over Genk in October.

His last Premier League goal came when Chelsea beat Swansea 4-1 at Stamford Bridge in September.

Torres is enjoying an extended run in the Blues team with Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou away on international duty with the Ivory Coast at the African Nations Cup. And while Villas-Boas is happy to put his faith in Torres, he hinted that the former Atletico Madrid forward may face a battle to keep his place when Drogba returns.

"It is normal, he is taking his time," he said of Torres.

"The confidence is there and we believe a lot in the player, he helped the team with his lay offs and passing and in this situation he has to continue to persist and maybe we can create opportunities that can help us win games.

"If we need to create more opportunities for him to score then that's what we need to do."

He added: "The two players (Drogba and Torres) compete for the striker position, when Didier arrives back it will be healthy competition and we know the significance of Didier to this team and his goals record.

"We will reassess things when Didier comes back and see how tired he is. His ambition is to stay with us and try and win trophies, so he will be a major plus for the team."

And Villas-Boas will have another headache to contend with after seeing Ashley Cole sent off when the England full-back was shown a second yellow card for his challenge on Swansea winger Nathan Dyer with five minutes to go at the Liberty Stadium, a dismissal that rules him out of Sunday's meeting with Manchester United.

Swansea had led thanks to Scott Sinclair's stunning 39th-minute volley against his former club, but were denied a repeat of their famous victory over Arsenal when Jose Bosingwa's stoppage time ball across the box took a wicked deflection off Neil Taylor to beat Swansea keeper Michel Vorm.

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers felt the result had been cruel on his side as they narrowly avoided a repeat of their stunning success over Arsenal in their previous home game.

He said: "I thought it was a terrific performance, we deserved to win the game.

"We are bitterly disappointed to have conceded right at the end. The players were magnificent, we dominated the game with the ball in the first half and we had good control defensively in the second half.

"We restricted Chelsea's chances and we were just punished late on. I am very proud of the players and to feel that way after drawing with Chelsea is pleasing, but we felt we should have had the three points."