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Torres available to spearhead Chelsea attack

The 33-year-old coach, who joined the club in June after Chelsea paid 15 million euros to trigger an escape clause in his Porto contract, has yet to decide on his starting lineup.

However, he clearly plans to provide the attacking football craved by the club's Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich with Torres and Didier Drogba both likely to play.

"Maybe also [Nicolas] Anelka,' Villas-Boas told reporters at the club's training ground where he said Torres, who came off with mild concussion after just 14 minutes of Spain's midweek friendly defeat by Italy, is expected to be available.

"[Daniel] Sturridge is the one suspended from last season but a couple of forwards are threatening for that position.

"We are favouring a 4-3-3 formation in our beginning, that's what we have been playing in pre-season, and we have a couple of players threatening for that central striker's position.


"Torres should be OK to be selected for the team travelling up to Stoke," Villas-Boas said.

"Yesterday he still couldn't remember a couple of things from the game and from before the game [against Italy] but he was back in training today and is up for selection for the squad," he added.

Villas-Boas, a scout for Chelsea under former manager and compatriot Jose Mourinho from 2004 to 2007, steered Porto to a treble of Portuguese league, cup and Europa League trophies last season but played down his status in England.

"I doubt I am the high-profile manager of the Premier League,' said the youngest coach in the top flight. "There are extremely successful managers in this league. I respect them a lot and hopefully I can bring myself up to these standards.

"We [Chelsea] guide ourselves with the highest standards possible, looking for excellence and looking to win back a title that escaped us last season."

Chelsea were runners-up to Manchester United in the title race finishing nine points adrift of Sir Alex Ferguson's team and Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti paid the price with his job. Villas-Boas is determined not to face the same fate.

"We will do everything in our power to win it [the title] back," he said. "We have had a good pre-season and everybody is feeling already excited to come back to competitive games. Hopefully this first challenge [against Stoke] is important."