London: Chelsea's interim manager Roberto Di Matteo backed beleaguered Spanish striker Fernando Torres to end a wretched goal drought stretching back 25 games to October, while admitting that the 50-million-Pound signing's problems lie in the mind.
"He (Torres) is a tremendous team player, a fantastic guy and we value him very much," Di Matteo said. "He trains hard and he had a great game in my opinion on Tuesday night," the Italian added in reference to the 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round replay win at second-tier Birmingham City.
"The only thing he lacked was a goal but I don't really care who scores the goals in my team. For me it's about the team ethic," said Di Matteo.
Torres did not feature in the 1-0 win over Stoke and has gone without a goal in almost 24 hours on the field.
"The goals will come for him. Everyone has moments when things don't go as they want - it's part of life."
Di Matteo said he was not concerned that Torres appeared to turn down compatriot Juan Mata's offer for him to take a second-half penalty against Birmingham.
"We've got designated penalty takers and it was Mata on Tuesday," said the former Italy and Chelsea midfielder. "It was simple and Mata followed instructions."
He admitted, though, that the misfiring striker has a “psychological problem”.
"He has a psychological problem and only Fernando can unlock it. If he needs me, I am always here but it is obvious the change must come from him."
"He must not think about how much he cost the club. He must concentrate only on playing and not about scoring, or providing an assist or making a great play every time he touches the ball."
"He should not think about scoring goals, only about playing simple football. The rest will take care of itself.”
The Italian coach believes the 27-year-old just needs to regain some confidence to start performing at the highest level again.
"My approach with Fernando will always be a natural one. Fernando is still a great striker and I am sure he has not forgotten how to score goals. He is one of the strongest forwards in the world."
"He has scored so many goals in recent years and I'm sure he will continue to do so in the future. He will succeed because he is still young. He just needs to regain his confidence."
Di Matteo took over last Sunday when Portuguese Andre Villas-Boas was sacked after a sequence of one victory in seven matches in all competitions.
Reports had been swirling in the media for several weeks about a rift between Villas-Boas and his players and the interim manager said he had spoken to the squad in a bid to get them all pulling in the same direction.
"I've had five long and busy days," Di Matteo explained. "I've thrown myself into the job and I've just been trying to talk to all the players individually and get them on board."
"I feel I have everybody onside. I have spoken to almost all of the players because I believe this is a team effort."
Asked if they were a difficult group to manage, Di Matteo replied: "Ask me again in a few weeks or a few months. I've been in charge for five days so I can't answer that question yet".
He said everyone had to take their share of the blame for Villas-Boas's sacking.
"It has been a collective responsibility," added Di Matteo. "We all know we are fifth in the table and we have obviously made mistakes. I know we are strong and we have a good team and we want to show we are better than where we are at the moment. We have to win games - it's that simple."
"I don't want to spend time discussing what went on earlier, I just want to look to the future. I've got two months to the end of the season to achieve our aims, our targets and this is what I'm going to put my energy into," said Di Matteo.
Di Matteo has been placed in charge until the end of the season and becomes the latest coach to work under notoriously impatient owner Roman Abramovich, who has sacked seven managers since buying the London club in 2004.
"How am I going to cope?" Di Matteo said. "I will still get up in the morning. Have a coffee. Still have my lunch, my dinner, and get on with my life as normal."
"At any club, there's pressure to achieve certain targets. It's always there. If you can't handle it, don't want it, you shouldn't be in this job. We are in a results-driven business. It's very simple."