Chelsea forward Fernando Torres has spoken of his season from hell at the club last term, and admitted that he did not care if the team won or lost.
The Spaniard had a torrid time when he first moved to Stamford Bridge from Liverpool, and was used largely as a substitute behind Didier Drogba in 2011-12.
However, Torres is now Roberto Di Matteo’s first choice and has returned to form, but he has spoken of his unhappiness last term.
“Halfway through last season, I distanced myself from the values I had grown up with,” Torres told Spanish daily newspaper El Pais, translated to English by The Daily Mail.
“I had team-mates who didn’t care if the team won or lost because they were not playing. I never wanted to be like that. But one day I discovered that I was like them; that it didn’t matter if we won or lost if I was not playing.
“I wasn’t part of the group. I discovered that I was not happy because I had stopped being what I had always wanted to be. In the dressing room, you can never lose that group concept.
“I learned to look at myself and to realise that the only person that can change is you. The only person who can say, “You’re making mistakes, you’ve got to do something” is you. I became more mature, I came to know myself better and became conscious of the fact that it depends on me.
“I learned to be more self-critical, to understand everyone better and to accept the situation.
“I learned that if we won it didn’t matter that I hadn’t played. I had to keep working. You can settle into a comfort zone or you can accept your role. I became a different player because I was serving the team.
“I can now do things that I was not able to before. You can be the player that your coach wants but you’re not the player that people expect you to be. I spoke to Steve Holland, the Chelsea assistant, a lot and we worked hard on it.
“When I retire the only thing that concerns me is that no one can say that I was a bad team-mate or disrespectful or self-important,” he concluded.
By Gareth McKnight