Fernando Torres is hoping he gets the nod to start against Hull City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday after a hard week of training.
Torres, who arrived back to pre-season late following Confederations Cup duty, has been playing catch-up with his team-mates, but having trained at Cobham this week rather than joining Spain’s squad for their friendly in Ecuador, believes he is now at a level of sharpness to warrant inclusion for the first game of the Premier League season.
‘Obviously I am maybe not at the same level as some of the other guys having not been training even for a month yet, but it’s been a positive week training with the reserve guys, so I feel ready to play,’ he said.
Last time Torres faced Hull he was a Liverpool player, netting a hat-trick against the Tigers at Anfield in a 6-1 win back in 2009.
‘It was a long time ago,’ he smiled. ‘I remember the hat-trick. The first one was a cross from Albert Riera, I pulled it with my right leg and shot with the left, the second was from a pass from Yossi Benayoun, and the third was also the left foot, so I think it was a left-footed hat-trick, which are not very common!
‘This time I think it will be harder. Always the first game of the season is a tricky game, all the teams want to give a good image of themselves and put in a performance, so it will probably be really good for the fans to watch. Hull will want to win and be positive, but they won’t want to go crazy and be exposed and concede goals, so we will need to show character from the first minute, but we know the fans will be behind us with Jose Mourinho back and we can think positively.’
Mourinho has already said he expects a tough game from Steve Bruce’s side this afternoon, but a win would be the perfect start heading into what is an already busy period of a season in which Torres hopes to lift further silverware.
‘We will see what happens,’ said the 29-year-old. ‘Three top teams in the Premier League have changed managers and I think it will be even more difficult for all of us, because you need a bit of time to adapt. I think we have the same chances, and to start well will be key.
‘It’s one of the main targets and we will see what happens, but we have to go game by game and not think nine months ahead of ourselves.’