Di Matteo struggles to avoid Torres burn-out
Updated Friday, 5th October 2012
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo admits Fernando Torres is in need of a rest, but the club's lack of attacking options mean the Spaniard must keep playing.
Torres has started every game this season and looks likely to spearhead the Blues' forward line again when Norwich visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
It will be Chelsea's seventh match in just 21 days and Di Matteo has been keen to rotate his squad as much as possible, with the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Juan Mata given spells on the bench to ensure they remain fresh.
But with Daniel Sturridge -- Chelsea's only other senior striker -- sidelined due to injury, Di Matteo has been forced to keep asking more from Torres, even when he looks short of form and fitness.
"It's our seventh game tomorrow (Saturday) in 21 days and he's in good shape, he's very fit. But, certainly, it's something we have to look at," Di Matteo said on Friday when asked if he was concerned that Torres might be suffering from burn-out.
Spain midfielder Mata's fine form since his return from a fortnight off has underlined the benefits of giving players extra time to recover, but Di Matteo can't promise the same for every member of the squad as he doesn't have strength in depth in all positions.
"Every player's different," Di Matteo said. "With Mata, it was because of the busy schedule he's had over the summer.
"Some of the other players have had a rest because they were not involved the Euros or after the Euros.
"That's why I need to look at every individual as a player and decide.
"But, at the moment, there are no breaks for anyone on the agenda."
Di Matteo was delighted with Mata's response to his own break, which has seen him rack up four goals and four assists in his last four games.
"It was just common sense to give him a break and the way he's performing suggests that it was very welcome by his body and mind," Di Matteo added.
"Juan Mata is a very intelligent man and I talked to him about this idea, and he bought into it and he saw the benefits of it.
"Juan has really raised the bar again after this break. But if you look at how he played last season, he had a fantastic first season in the English Premier League."