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Spaniard prefers to play against the best

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has expressed his disappointment at missing out on facing Rio Ferdinand, who will miss Manchester United's trip to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday through injury.

Britain's most expensive player revealed he wants the England captain to figure because he enjoys the challenge of playing against the best players in the world.

Torres has enjoyed playing against United in the past, scoring twice in his previous meetings as a Liverpool player, and admits he would prefer to face their strongest backline.

“When you play against top sides they have top players and Man United are the same, they have brilliant centre-backs and always the motivation is high when you play against them,” he told the club’s official website.

“You want to play well against these players to show you can do it, and Vidic and Ferdinand were always a big challenge for me, so I hoped they could both play. Some people prefer big players not to be playing but I prefer to play against these kinds of players.”

Despite United’s lack of form this season they remain top of the Premier League and in the driving seat to win a record-breaking 19th title, and Torres conceded that even when United are not playing well they are difficult to beat.

He added: “They have lost only one game, the main thing is that it is Man United on the top even if they are not at their best, they are still challenging for everything this season.

“This is the quality they have and it's been the same at Chelsea. I was at Liverpool and when I had to play against Chelsea or Manchester United and they were not in their best moment you knew it would still be very hard to win.”

Torres’s ability to play with Chelsea’s other strikers has been questioned since his big money move, but the player insists he will work as hard as possible to get the most out of playing with Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba.

He said: “With two lines of four the other day the team played really well and the balance was really good, compact and they did well, sometimes playing balls behind the centre-backs or sometimes between the lines, and Nico [Anelka] likes to play like this.

“It is my job to understand the game of Nico or the game of Didier Drogba, and to be involved in the routine of the team and know the quality of the players so that's what I am trying to do now.”

Fernando Torres to score his first Chelsea goal against Manchester United @ 6/5 (William Hill)

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