Blues dressing down for Torres

STRIKER Fernando Torres spent yesterday being quizzed by the club over an interview in which he appeared to criticise his teammates.

Torres, who has endured a miserable run in front of goal since his €57m move from Liverpool, was quoted on Spain’s La Liga website branding Chelsea’s “older” players “very slow”.

Manager Andre Villas-Boas sought an explanation from Torres, who claimed his words were not translated accurately on his own website. Chelsea sought a copy of the interview in its original Spanish and Villas-Boas revealed he would warn Torres not to speak so candidly about the club in future if the translation did stand up.

“We are going in-depth to regain the tape of that interview,” he said.

“We’ll see if things play exactly as they are in that interview.”

Meanwhile Blues new boy Raul Meireles has launched an attack on Liverpool yesterday claiming they forced him to submit a transfer request once they decided to sell him to Chelsea.

Meireles completed a €14m move to Stamford Bridge in the final minutes of transfer deadline day but revealed he had never wanted to leave Anfield.

“All I have to say is that I had one promise at Liverpool which wasn’t fulfilled,” said the midfielder.

“It’s not the only thing to blame. But that’s why the Liverpool fans are unsure why I left. Liverpool asked me to hand in a transfer request.”

Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli insisted last night the Reds did not want to sell Meireles but had little choice after he handed in a transfer request.

Comolli told the club’s website: “I think Raul said it himself with what I’ve seen recently in the press. Basically, he came to see me and said ‘I want to leave, I want to play for another club’.

“Our intention was not to sell him but we were put in a corner a little bit when he put in a transfer request and said he wanted to go and that he didn’t want to play for Liverpool anymore.

“I think the owners and Kenny (Dalglish) have said it, and we all have the same view. When someone doesn’t want to be here it’s difficult to say ’you are going to stay’.

“We’ve been through that process in January with Fernando Torres and this felt like the same situation. We’ve done it, we think it was the right thing to do for the club, because it’s very, very difficult to have somebody here who doesn’t want to be here.”

Meireles had said he was stunned to discover he had been made available.

“I was aware that Liverpool wanted to sell me in the summer, which was a bit surprising to me,” said Meireles.

Despite his annoyance with the transfer, he was delighted to have ended up at Stamford Bridge.

“I’m here now, it’s a new adventure, and I want to do well here.”

This all broke on an uncomfortable day for Villas-Boas who was also forced to defend himself against allegations he inherited a Chelsea squad scarred by their Champions League failures, that they were further away than ever from winning club football’s ultimate prize as well the increasing criticism of the squad’s age.

But Villas-Boas, making his managerial debut in the competition, said: “I don’t think there’s a mental block. There’s some kind of unpredictability that can take you all the way to the final sometimes. Other times it doesn’t.

“This club has been present in semi-finals. We’ve been close to getting it. We’ll just try to be close again this season to go all the way.

“It’s not just Chelsea as a top European club who haven’t won it,” said the Portuguese, who described the Champions League as “the most difficult competition” around.

“Our time will eventually come. We just have to focus on making it one of our objectives, as it has been for the past few seasons.”

Didier Drogba will miss today’s game as he continues his recovery from a head injury.

The striker has been given another two days off and remains in a race against time to be fit for Chelsea’s trip to Old Trafford next Sunday.

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