He's Mr Happy! Chelsea boss Di Matteo lauds rejuvenated Torres
16:06 GMT, 30 March 2012
Chelsea's interim manager Roberto Di Matteo is delighted by the rejuvenation of a 'happy' Fernando Torres.
Torres has performed with greater conviction since Di Matteo replaced Andre Villas-Boas at the start of the month.
Although he remains far from prolific in goalscoring terms – he has been on target only six times in 37 appearances this season – his recent contribution to the team has been significant.
Happy at last: Torres appears to be enjoying his football under Di Matteo
On Tuesday night it was his burst of pace and cross that set up Salomon Kalou's late winner in the 1-0 Champions League victory over Benfica.
Di Matteo insists he has not given Torres any special attention, even though the 28-year-old Spaniard appears more confident under his guidance.
'We're just happy that Fernando's performing well for us. He's a very good player and a great, great team player,' he said.
'I've been trying to speak to all my players and give them the confidence to play.
'Fernando seems to have been performing well. He's a happy player at the moment, but all players need particular attention.'
The man in charge: Di Matteo took over from AVB
Chelsea have been lifted by their success at Benfica, a result that has enabled them to place one foot in the Champions League semi-finals.
But their cup form under Di Matteo – four wins in as many games – contrasts with their difficulties in the Barclays Premier League which has seen them triumph just once in three outings.
They sit five points adrift of the Champions League places and Di Matteo accepts it is time to climb the table – starting with tomorrow's clash with Aston Villa.
'We need to win points in the Premier League. We have played Stoke, City and Spurs,' he said.
'It's difficult against Stoke. They drew at White Hart Lane and at Manchester City, so we know how strong they are.
'We're in good form and shape, though. The spirit's good and we'll try to take that into the next game.
Impact: Torres set up Kalou's winning goal against Benfica
'When you win, the confidence flows into the players and team. We'll try and take that into the next game.'
Di Matteo rested six players against Benfica – including Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Michael Essien – and will continue to nurture his resources carefully.
'I was trying to select a team that could play a good game against Benfica and the same will happen tomorrow,' he said.
'Considering the strengths and weaknesses of Aston Villa and our own strengths, we'll look and see how the players are, their level of fitness and energy, then select the team.
'It doesn't work like whoever misses one game will be in the next game. I'm very happy that we have almost a full squad to select from.
'That'll be very important for the rest of this run-in for us.
'For every individual game, we'll look at which players are best to play that game.'