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Mata: Torres struggling in Drogba role

Chelsea’s Juan Mata says Fernando Torres is struggling to fill the void left by Didier Drogba, but still thinks he is one of the world’s best stirkers.

Drogba, who netted the winning penalty against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final last season, moved to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua, leaving the ex-Liverpool man as Chelsea’s main striker.

Mata has revealed Drogba’s departure hit the players hard, and has forced them to change their style of play for the ‘different’ Torres.

“Drogba’s departure was like an electric shock for us,” the 24-year-old told French magazine So Foot. “He was a warrior.

“We’ve had to learn to cope without him because for many long years he was Chelsea’s lightning conductor.

“With Drogba we were conditioned to play in a certain way. You gave him the ball and you knew that he would at least force the opponent into a foul.

“In a way we had a tendency to rely on him too much but it was a natural mechanism. All the great players like getting the ball, Didier even more so.

“With Fernando it’s different. His runs aren’t the same. He’s not a funnel for our play like Drogba could be. He doesn’t like the holding-it-up role. He prefers finding space and facing the goal.”

Fri 7 December, 2012
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