Stoke City: Torres may be about to fire again for Chelsea, warns Pulis
FERNANDO Torres is just 10 minutes away from completing a full 24 hours of match action since last scoring a goal.
That's a bewildering statistic for any striker, let alone one costing Chelsea £50m just 14 months ago.
The Spanish frontman – who was dropped by the national side last month – hasn't hit the back of the net since scoring twice in the Champions League against Genk back on October 19.
Since then, a player already under pressure to recapture his old Liverpool form has amazingly gone 24 games for club and country without scoring.
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It's an ominous statistic if you're Stoke and next in line to play him, however.
Which might partially explain why City boss Tony Pulis was so keen to play up Torres ahead of today's game.
Pulis watched Torres draw another blank at Birmingham in the FA Cup fifth-round replay this week, but insists he was impressed by his general play.
"I think if he scores goals he will take off again," he said.
"His movement and play was very good the other night.
"He's a top player who's just going through a bad period. It's a long period, but he's got quality and it's just a matter of time.
"He's not a player who's just hanging around, he puts a shift in and that's why I like him.
"Somebody is going to go into that (manager's) job on the back of him scoring one or two and reap the benefit."
So can he explain such an incredible scoring drought in a team that creates chances?
"I think all forwards go through a stage where they have good times and bad times, and he's going through that stage," he added.
"But he will be all the better when he does come out of it."
His solution is to simply keep persevering with a talent which once bagged 81 goals in 142 appearances for Liverpool between 2007 and 2011.
"You just keep picking them and let them get on with it," said the City boss.
"If they've got quality, they will come through it.
"I think he's had lots of opportunities to score and he just needs a bit of luck to score.
"The quality they've got, they certainly create chances.
"But there were two incidents the other night where, 12 months ago, in a one-v-one he would taken him on and smashed it in the net."
Indeed, his confidence is presumably at an all-time low, which might explain why he passed up the chance to take a penalty at Birmingham on Tuesday when offered the chance to end his drought.
"I don't know if that's more him thinking about the team than himself," Pulis countered.
Talking of goals, Pulis insists he is pleased with the contribution of his forwards as Peter Crouch headed to Stamford Bridge today with 10 to his name and Jon Walters with nine to his.
"Where we have been a little bit disappointing is that we haven't scored goals in other areas and that's what we've got to analyse.
"We could do with more goals from wide and more goals from midfield.
"That's something we'll be looking at and will talk about further down the line.
"But we are delighted with how it's gone because we knew this would be a tough season, but whether it catches up with us we'll have to see."
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