Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti will throw “something special” at Manchester United in Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final and said a win was more important than a first goal for Fernando Torres.
Spain striker Torres is still waiting to find the net since his record £50 million ($81.83 million) move in January and while a goal from him would be welcome as Chelsea travel to Old Trafford with a 1-0 first-leg deficit, it is far from essential.
“I am not interested in a goal for Fernando, I am interested that Chelsea can win this game,” Ancelotti told a news conference on Monday, his shrugs hinting he was getting weary of the never-ending questions about the former Liverpool player.
“If Fernando scores it is good for him and it is good for Chelsea but if another (player) scores it doesn’t matter - it is important to win.
“He doesn’t have pressure from us because our aim is that he can play for the squad. I never ask any of my strikers to score a goal,” added Ancelotti.
The Italian said Torres would definitely play, but would not be drawn on whether he would start before offering a small clue as to what might help the striker break his duck.
“Yossi (Benayoun) knows Fernando very well, he knows his movement ... he has an advantage to play with Fernando,” said Ancelotti referring to the Chelsea midfielder who used to play alongside Torres at Liverpool.
Benayoun’s introduction off the bench in Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League win over Wigan Athletic coincided with several clear-cut chances for Torres although he missed them all as he provided more unpleasant reading for himself in the newspapers.
The notion that Ancelotti was also under pressure, knowing that previous Chelsea managers who have not brought home the coveted European Cup have been given their marching orders, was met with an even bigger shrug than the Torres debate.
“I’m not afraid, not worried about this,” said Ancelotti who has a year left on his contract. “A lot of time I played this kind of game, with this pressure - it’s not pressure, it’s excitement.
“My future is already decided. I don’t have a problem about this game. When I have a contract everything is OK.”
Piece of paper or not, his job would be infinitely more secure if Chelsea, the last team to win at Old Trafford, could repeat the feat they managed a year ago. A passage into the semifinals will depend partly on them being able to restrict United striker Wayne Rooney who Ancelotti described as the “most dangerous player in the squad”.
“We have to pay attention to his position and performance. But we don’t change our shape, our mentality, our philosophy to control Rooney. We must play our football,” he said.
“We will try to do something special.”
He declined to elaborate, chuckling it would not be a surprise on Tuesday if he showed his hand ahead of the game, but added that making up for the 2008 defeat on penalties by United in the Champions League final gave his players extra incentive.
“That memory could be a good motivation for everyone,” said Ancelotti. “Obviously the key is very simple, if you play better than Manchester United you can win.”