Torres targets AVB after ending drought

The sheer scale of the numbers had threatened to crush Fernando Torres; 24 hours and 33 minutes of playing time without a goal coming into this game, 150 days since he last found the net.

But no more.

The Chelsea striker was forced to wait a further 67 minutes of this FA Cup quarter-final tie to end his excruciating drought — and a wasted first-half opportunity suggested the agony might continue for another day — then a mere 18 minutes before finding the net again.

The relief was palpable. His team-mates and the vast majority inside Stamford Bridge responded with the ironic rendition of Robin van Persie’s signature chant “he scores when he wants”. Hardly, but he has to start somewhere.

Torres admitted afterwards his plight had become desperate since he last scored in the Champions League group game against Genk in October. And reflecting the improved accuracy of his finishing, he delivered a painful barb in the direction of Andre Villas-Boas, indicating he did not enjoy the full support of his former manager.

“I needed those goals,” he said. “I’d been working so hard to get those goals and in the last month the team is much better than before. We are more committed and I think we have shown in the last two or three games that we can do things in a good way.

“I think maybe this season I am playing at a very good level but I was not scoring goals in this period and the job of the striker is to score goals. So if you don’t do it then the people think you are playing badly but for me the main thing is the support of the people.”

And that, it seems, is what has changed since Villas-Boas was dismissed.

“They have all been with me,” he added. “The team-mates, the staff. I feel the confidence of the manager now and obviously it is a good time for me and for Chelsea.”

The finish for Torres’ first goal may not go down as one of his best — he scuffed his shot after an excellent breakaway move — but that mattered little to the player. “Well you’re desperate,” he admitted. “Desperate so you’re not going to relax.”

The second, a glancing header from Raul Meireles’ corner suggested the first goal had loosened him considerably.

His goals — Chelsea’s third and fourth — came after Gary Cahill had put Chelsea ahead, marking his goal by revealing a T-shirt with a message of support for his former Bolton team-mate Fabrice Muamba. Salomon Kalou doubled the lead and Raul Meireles added the fifth, while late Leicester goals from Jermaine Beckford and Ben Marshall added interest to the tie.

A trip to Wembley now beckons and, after a fourth successive win under interim coach Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea’s season is revived.

Cahill’s headed goal put them on the way yesterday but, even though it was his first goal for the club, the former Bolton centre-back admitted his thoughts were elsewhere.

“It was nice to get the goal but the game was a bit of a blur for me after having seen what happened yesterday and I just hope he is okay,” said Cahill of Muamba.

CHELSEA (4-2-3-1): Cech 6; Bosingwa 6, Ivanovic 8 (Luiz 76, 6), Cahill 8, Bertrand 7; Meireles 8, Mikel 6; Sturridge 7, Mata 7, Kalou 7 (Essien 63, 6); Torres 9.

LEICESTER CITY (4-4-2): Schmeichel 7; St Ledger 6 (Schlupp 63, 6), Morgan 6, Bamba 6, Konchesky 6; Gallagher 6 (Peltier 43, 6), Danns 8, Wellens 6 (Marshall 84, 7), Dyer 7; Nugent 8, Beckford 7.

Referee: L Probert (Wiltshire).

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