- Premier League
Mata: Criticism of Torres is 'extreme'
Juan Mata has backed Chelsea team-mate Fernando Torres to emerge from his latest dip in form, as he claims the critics are "too extreme" when assessing the £50 million hitman.
Torres has come under fire as his performance levels have dropped since his promising start to the season, yet he won a vote of confidence from his compatriot ahead of the clash with his former club Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
"I believe that Fernando will score goals, because I know him, I know how hungry he is inside himself," Mata told the Daily Mirror. "Every day he is looking to score. Every day he trains so hard. I know how he is inside his own mind.
"For sure he is going to score goals. He is still young, only 28, he has some years still to go. I believe in him because he is a true person and very professional."
Torres has not scored a Premier League goal in over a month, yet Mata insists the Spaniard's critics are all too quick to look for faults in a striker who has struggled to live up to his billing since his move to the Blues.
"With Fernando, everything is extreme," added Mata. "He is one of the best strikers in England and he showed that at Liverpool and a lot of times in a lot of games. That's why I believe in him, because I know how good he is and how good he's going to be, how much he helps the team.
"If you've seen him, you have to say his team work has been good. Apart from the goals he scores, you have to look at the amount of movement, the pressure he puts on defenders. Last season he led the team on assists and that's what I'm talking about. He is happy - I'm sure of that."
Meanwhile, Mata claims Chelsea are on course to complete an "amazing season", even though they surrendered their position atop the Premier League after their 3-2 defeat to Manchester United last month.
"I think the football we are playing has taken the club, and my game, to a different level. We are playing the kind of football I have always loved to play, with freedom up front, all of us trying to pass and create with quality.
"But it's not enough to play in a good way as we have to win as well. Our aim is to play good football. It has to be winning football and we can make it an amazing season."