The Spain international joined the Blues from Liverpool in 2011 for £50 million but has come under intense criticism during his time in London after failing to replicate his best form for the west Londoners.
Mourinho says people expect more from Torres because of the reputation he built for himself while at Anfield, scoring 65 goals in 102 games, but says perspective is needed.
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“There is a balance. Normally, the tendency is to say it was a big mistake. It was a big mistake because it didn’t work.”
The former Real Madrid coach also insisted that owner Roman Abramovich never involved himself in the running of the team during Mourinho’s first spell with the club.
“Never, never during my time did the owner interfere in the basic things of the manager – training sessions, team selection, the profile of player I want to bring, " he added.
“Do you want to know the truth about [Andriy] Shevchenko? I hope the board is not upset with me. We wanted to buy Samuel Eto’o, he was our target. We wanted Eto’o and the owner was more than ready to do everything to bring Eto’o here.
“He was the player I wanted. Why? Because Eto’o was the only player I could play with Didier Drogba, changing the system for two strikers.
“But he was also ready to play with Drogba with the system we had at the time, with three attacking players with Eto’o coming from the sides. I did the same with him at Inter Milan. We wanted Eto’o and the boss did everything to bring Eto’o and Peter Kenyon did everything.
“In the end, Barcelona said, ‘We don’t sell, forget it, forget it. Not any price’. The owner did everything to get him, but it was not possible.
“After that, we went to other options and got to Shevchenko. I was happy with him.
“Even with the top dogs – when you buy for £30m, £40m, £50m, or £60m – sometimes it doesn’t work. It doesn’t mean you or the club made a big mistake. It just doesn’t work.”