LONDON - At every Chelsea news conference these days the matter of Fernando Torres's inability to find the net is duly raised and on every occasion Carlo Ancelotti insists he is unconcerned about the Spain striker.
So, after Wednesday's goalless home draw with FC Copenhagen that sent the Londoners into the quarter-finals of the Champions League 2-0 on aggregate, it did not take long for the issue to come up.
Torres began the night on the bench, where he cut a miserable-looking figure, before replacing and equally-morose Nicolas Anelka for the last 22 minutes.
"I'm not worried (about Torres) said Ancelotti, explaining that he had rested the 50 million pounds Spaniard to ensure he was fresh for Sunday's Premier League game against Manchester City.
"He was excited, he had some opportunities, his movement was good. At the end we lost a little bit of precision because we wanted to score but I'm happy."
Torres has now played six matches since his move from Liverpool, failing to score and rarely looking like doing so.
Ancelotti's first-choice partnership seems to be the Spaniard alongside Anelka, though Didier Drogba put in a good shift on Wednesday, working hard and unselfishly and causing the Copenhagen defenders to stay alert throughout.
Torres had a couple of snap-shots, one deflected that looped just wide, but also snatched at one chance horribly and sent the ball ballooning high, wide and not at all handsome.
Pressed to talk more about Torres, Ancelotti initially had the tabloid reporters twitching in excitement when he said: "Torres was very upset before the game because he wanted to play. We had a big argument because he wanted to write his name on the teamsheet. It was an unbelievable situation."
It was, literally, as the Italian allowed a grin to cross his face and added: "Is that enough for tomorrow? You can say if I'm joking or not."
Ancelotti knows he has a class act on his hands who will eventually come good and he will need him to if they are to win the Champions League after so many near misses in recent years.
Having lost to the eventual winners in each of the last three seasons it would be typical for Chelsea to be paired with favourites Barcelona in Friday's draw.
However, Copenhagen boss Stale Solbakken, who has seen both sides close up in the Champions League this season, said the Londoners should have nothing to fear should the draw throw up a repeat of 2009 semi-final.
"Barcelona are a little bit stronger at this moment but Chelsea have that advantage of having that great physique in the team," he said.
"They've strangled them here before when they were unlucky with (Andres) Iniesta's goal and they can outpower them, that can be their advantage.
"So if they can handle them at Nou Camp I think they have a better chance than Arsenal because of their strength."comments