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A MATA OF TIME FOR TORRES.

Byline: MARTIN LIPTON

JUAN MATA claimed last night that Fernando Torres will come good for Chelsea.

But the Premier League's record scorer, Alan Shearer, fears the pounds 50million striker is destined to fail unless he can get back to doing what he did for Liverpool.

Torres failed to find the net yet again in his first league start for eight games as Chelsea's flickering title flame was surely extinguished by a Boxing Day draw with Fulham.

Mata, who profited from a Torres lay-off to open the scoring, insisted his fellow Spaniard was not a busted flush.

He said: "Fernando was very unlucky, but it's true every striker needs a goal. He works hard every day in training and for sure the goals will arrive soon."

That message was reiterated by Blues boss A d Vill B h Andre Villas-Boas, who will have to rely on Torres when Didier Drogba leaves for Africa Cup of Nations duty next month.

But Shearer, whose record of 260 Premier League goals included more than a ton for both Blackburn and Newcastle, suggested Torres must go back to basics.

Shearer said: "The ability is there but he needs to start facing everything up.

"At the moment Torres is not running in behind enough. Against Fulham, he kept getting the ball with his back to goal and that makes it easier for defenders, especially when he comes short all the time.

"He can't score if he's out wide when the ball is going into the box. He needs to be in the box to score, whether off his backside or a great goal.

"I think his link-up play is good and I'm certainly not saying he's not working hard enough or scrapping for his team. But when you pay pounds 50m for a player you expect goals."

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SUPPORT Mata backs Torres to find the net soon
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 28, 2011
Words:312
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