Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cheer up, Fernando Torres.

Fernando Torres will rediscover his form again. Some day. He's too good a player not to, really. But those happy times seem a long way away after yet another match in which he's failed to find the net. It's now eight straight goalless matches he's played for the Blues; more galling is that he's only registered one shot on target during his six EPL matches for Chelsea, one less than fellow new arrival David Luiz - a centre-back.

Even though he's (probably) earned a nice raise and has escaped the flotsam and jetsam that marked Roy Hodgson's Liverpool reign, Fernando Torres doesn't seem happy; in fact he seems about two more goalless games away from dressing all in black and breaking out the goth makeup.

You've got got dream move, Fernando, why so sad? Chelsea (more particularly owner Roman Abramovich) gambled that his Liverpool funk was a result of injury, perhaps burnout and displeasure at the club's circumstances only to have so far been proven wrong. Torres will rediscover his touch again but unfortunately, sometimes form slumps are difficult to break. Exhibit A: Wayne Rooney, only just regaining some of his best touch after a horrible twelve months.

We posited in November that Torres needed to get the swagger back into his game. Following his two sublime goals for the Reds against Chelsea, he was apparently back to his best but has failed to kick on and his body language remains poor. He's in a rough trot and knows it. From the outside, it seems Torres is being very hard on himself - opting often for negative, rather than positive reinforcement. When this happens, the joy of simply playing the game can be easily lost. Good morale promotes good performances - the reverse is also true.

Sometimes the only way to get back your groove is to convince yourself that it's already done - to walk out onto the pitch and play the part of the confident scorer. Such an attitude requires mental strength to maintain under adversity, but it is possible to assure yourself by believing good things will happen if you're in the right place at the right time. It's no substitute for real confidence, but a good breeding ground which can allow self-belief to grow. The first step in having others believe you're a threat is to believe the same thing of yourself. You can tell a lot about a player's self-confidence by the way they hold themselves.

Players who come to terms with their form (and situation) aren't usually players who swear at cameramen or moan about negative refereeing decisions. In a media climate in which players like Rooney, Terry and Torres reside, much of their publicity is bi-polar: news reports see them deified or crucified with almost no middle ground. With the spotlight on him, perhaps it's time for Fernando Torres to start believing what he should know is true - that he's possibly the best centre-forward in the world and, eventually, the goals will come - rather than what others report as true.

As he lines up for Chelsea against arch-enemies Manchester United on Wednesday, he'll look across the field to see direct opponents Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling. In the past, Vidic has been putty in his hands. Smalling remains three years removed from the Isthmian Premier League. For Chelsea and Fernando Torres, there will never be a better time to start believing.

1 comment:

  1. Torres is too good a player to remain down for so long. It's a brand new season and he just needs to start refreshed and enjoy his game. However, on the back of his mind, he might be quietly pondering about Liverpool's preparations for the upcoming season. Boy, have they made some fine signings!