Whether Fernando Torres is involved or not in the game against Everton today, his 63 games for club and one for country already represents his best level of activity in a season.
With Chelsea going through the campaign with a smaller number of centre-forwards in the squad than in other seasons, and January-signing Demba Ba ineligible for European campaign, we have had to lean heavily on the Spaniard to lead the attack, and in the wake of the Europa League win this week Branislav Ivanovic declared it ‘a good thing’ his fellow scorer in the final had remained injury-free during the year.
In fact Torres has enjoyed a good run regarding injuries since joining Chelsea back in January 2011, and that is not down to chance alone.
‘I am sure this is my most games in a season and if everything goes well, I will have some more games coming because of the Confederations Cup with Spain in the summer, so the season is not finished,’ Torres says.
‘When you have problems with injuries in the past you have to work every day to protect yourself and to prepare your body to not get injured anymore.
‘The problem is when you realise you have to do that, it is late because you have had injuries,’ he explains.
‘That is important for the players who have never had injuries before. They have to work for the future. If you have never got injured, you think you are never going to but you will, you are getting older so you have to work more time than normal.’
Only four Chelsea outfield players have played more minutes for the club this season – Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata.
The last of those names has just enjoyed a special week. Not only was he involved in both goals in Amsterdam, Mata was also named Chelsea Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year, the first award for the second year running.
‘I think he deserved it,’ says Torres. ‘The choice wasn’t easy because Eden had a big impact for us but Juan was consistent. At the end of the season it was difficult for everyone but I think Juan has been the most consistent player.
‘Last year we won the Champions League and this year we won the Europa League and it is always an important thing to be Player of the Year when the team is winning something important in the season, and hopefully he can be even better next season.’
One total in which Torres is set to beat Mata this season is goals scored. He has found the Chelsea net 21 times with our no.10 on 19 scored.Has there been a friendly rivalry between the compatriots?
‘Not at all,’ insists Torres. ‘It is important for everyone that the players up front score goals and hopefully we can score more goals against Everton. We will see what happens.’