Chelsea flop Fleck backs Torres to come good

LONDON - Robert Fleck's Chelsea career failed to take off after he joined the club in a blaze of publicity in the 1990's, but the former Scotland striker is convinced the same fate will not befall Fernando Torres.

The Spanish international has gone seven games without a goal since signing for the Premier League champions for a club record fee of £50 million in January.

Fleck also cost Chelsea a club record £2.1 million when he left Norwich City in 1992, a big fee in those days.

However, the goals came in a trickle rather than a torrent and he moved back to Norwich three years later having scored only four times in 48 appearances for the Stamford Bridge side.

"Torres is still a world-class player," the 45-year-old told Reuters in an interview. "He had a couple of awkward years at Liverpool with injury but I'm sure he will be alright. I have absolutely no doubt about that.

"Chelsea will get the best out of him for sure," added Fleck who now works at a special-needs school and scouts for a Norwich side chasing promotion from the Championship.

Although Torres, like Fleck, plays up front, the Scot was a completely different player to the Spaniard.

"I scored a few goals for Norwich but I wasn't a 20-goal a season man. Never had been and was never going to be," he said.

"I think there was more to my game than that. I did a lot of my work outside the penalty box but Chelsea bought me as a goal-scorer and unfortunately I wasn't up to the job.


"Torres is completely and utterly different, he is world class. But with the amount of press around these days he is scrutinised from every angle," added Fleck.

"Every touch he makes, every move he makes is being scrutinised so there must be a lot of pressure on him."

Fleck, who started his career with Rangers and won four caps for Scotland, said the only pressure he had was self imposed.

"I didn't think about the price tag although I thought it was crazy that anyone could pay that money for me," he said.

"The people who bothered about the fee were the press and rival supporters who were probably saying, 'Imagine paying two million pounds for him'.

"The only pressure came from myself because I wanted to do well. I just wanted to play for Chelsea and the lack of goals started to play on my mind after a while because as a striker you have to score," said Fleck.

Torres is battling for a place in attack with Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou, all internationals.

While the strikers of Fleck's era were less well known, he still found it tough getting in the team ahead of Tony Cascarino, Mick Harford, John Spencer and Joe Allon.

Despite his lack of goals Fleck said no one in the dressing room questioned his place in the side - at least to his face.

"I am sure there were one or two players that could have been in the side ahead of me but the management team (Ian Porterfield and Don Howe) probably thought, 'We paid £2 million for him so we've got to stick with him'," he said.