TORRES: SPANISH VILLA

Posted on: Mon 02 Apr 2012

Villa Park may not been one of Chelsea's favourite away grounds in recent times but Fernando Torres's experiences on that piece of turf have been good ones generally.

The striker made his debut for Liverpool in a win there in 2007, a game incidentally in which Gary Cahill came on for Aston Villa as a half-time sub.

The following season was not so good for Torres - a 0-0 draw and a hamstring strain that forced him off in the first half, but the following season he hit the only goal to win the fixture in stoppage time. He didn't face Villa at all last season.

'I have very good memories,' Torres says, thinking back to the August 2007 occasion.

'It was my first game in English football and I really liked the atmosphere there in the stadium.

'It is always a very difficult game to play against Aston Villa away,' he adds, not wishing to dwell too long on the past.

'For us this weekend is massive, we need to win all the games now until the end of the season if we want to get into the top four so let's stop thinking for the moment about the Champions League and the FA Cup, for me the main target is to finish in the top four because we want to play Champions League next season. We cannot forget that for this we need to win these kinds of games.

'We know Aston Villa, they played a very good game against us at Stamford Bridge and we have to learn from this game because it was a surprise for all of us. We know how to prepare and hopefully we can have a good day.'

Despite our opponents' 3-1 success on New Year's Day, Villa's Spanish defender Carlos Cuellar this week warned publicly that he and his team-mates face a tough challenge against Torres given the Chelsea man's recent displays.

At one time players from south of the Pyrenees were scarce in English football. Chelsea, with Albert Ferrer in our side were a rare exception in the late 1990s. Now many Premier League sides contain Spaniards familiar with each other's game.

'I meet Cuellar in Spain when he was playing for Osasuna but he has the things you need to be good in English football, and can play as a right-back as well as a centre-back.

'I am happy the Spanish players are going out of Spain and playing well. Mendieta was one of the first ones, he joined Lazio and many players used to go to Italy and it was difficult for Spanish players to be successful there.

'After that there was Liverpool with [Xabi] Alonso and [Alvaro] Arbeloa starting to move to English football and we could see that it was maybe good football for us.

'Now a lot of Spanish players are coming to England and Italy, and Germany as well, and it is very good for the national team because we have players in good teams in all the best leagues around the world. I am sure if the English players go abroad as well it is going to be very good for English football.'