Chelsea sweat on Torres injury after gouge reprieve
Blues get European campaign back on track with 4-0 win over Steaua Bucharest
FERNANDO TORRES may have avoided a ban for violent conduct after gouging the face of Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen on Saturday, but he now faces an even longer lay-off after limping off just seconds into Chelsea's 4-0 win against Steaua Bucharest.
The injury took the gloss off the Blues routine win in Romania, and came just hours after it was confirmed that the Spanish striker would not be charged by the FA over the incident against Spurs.
That decision was welcomed by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho but "exposed the limitations of the Football Association's new powers to take retrospective action", says The Guardian. Because an official saw the altercation between the players the panel ruled that it had been "dealt with" on the field.
The uncertainty over Torres appeared to take its toll on Mourinho, who cut a frustrated figure in the build-up to the match, at one point walking out of a press conference.
Now, despite the FA reprieve, he is still waiting to see when he will next be available. "The doctor is very confident it is not a big injury like we had with Van Ginkel [who was ruled out for six months], but it’s something with his knee, his ligaments, and we have to wait for the scans," Mourinho said.
Torres is banned for the weekend's game against Norwich, and the injury means he will not be able to play for Spain the following week. It remains to be seen if he is fit for the match against Cardiff in a fortnight.
However, Mourinho appeared happier after the match, which Chelsea won thanks to two goals from Ramires, a Daniel Georgievski own goal and a Frank Lampard strike.
"Mourinho praised Chelsea's performance as their best of the season and claimed vindication in his handling of Juan Mata, who excelled in the No 10 role," says The Times.
"Juan played very well with the ball, as he always does," Mourinho said. "And very good without the ball, as he never did. He's coming closer to me." ·