Torres: Premiership Defenders Are Dodgy!

Spanish super-striker Fernando Torres has risked becoming public enemy number one amongst opponents next season by publicly ridiculing the ability of Premiership keepers and defenders. He also raised eyebrows by suggesting that Chelsea stars Petr Cech and Ricardo Carvalho are two of the only people in England's top division who really know how to keep the ball out of the net.
The 24-year-old will go into Euro 2008 sky-high in confidence after having scored a remarkable 24 league goals in his maiden season for Liverpool, though he has himself suggested that the tally would not be as high in a more defensively astute league.

“In England the keepers usually come out too soon and try to go one on one with you," he revealed.

“The only exceptions are Edwin Van der Sar and Petr Cech, who hold and hold and try to keep themselves ‘big’ as you close in on them.

“That’s why, against Manchester United and Chelsea, I try to hit the ball early.

“The rest of the Premier keepers tend to come out at you and throw themselves down at the ball too quickly.

“In general, that’s the reason so many goals in England are scored when a striker dribbles right or left and the keeper goes down at his feet. But if you anticipate what’s coming, it’s easier to score," he added.

“The central defenders are usually big, strong, aggressive lads. I guess it is probably because of these characteristics that the majority think they can solve problems by getting tough with me.

“But the truth is most of them lack defensive positioning as a result of their reliance on strength and aggression and leave so much space for you to take advantage of.”

Torres went on to share credit with an unusual ally in his battle of wits against Premiership defenders and keepers while also giving plaudits to one of Liverpool's unsung heroes.

“We’ve a Spanish goalkeeping coach and he has been a genius at telling me every week exactly what kind of task lies in front of me in the following match.

“Nobody has ever worked with me like this before. It’s outstanding. Basically, I know days before the next game exactly the best way to finish a chance against the keeper I’m about to face.

“Xavi Valero tells me precisely what each keeper tends to do — stay big, go down early, if they have a preferred side they try to push you to. It’s vital information. I’ve refined the way I take chances as a result.

“This Liverpool side also works its socks off for me. Dirk Kuyt, for example, is spectacular in how cleverly and how hard he works to make sure I get top-quality possession near goal.

"He does his own work and mine too! I reckon I’ve probably run half a kilometre less than normal when chances drop for me at Liverpool, because some of the guys behind me do so much running and chasing.

"I get fewer chances at Liverpool than at other times in my career but they are always better chances.”

Finally, the ex Atletico Madrid prodigy admitted that there is one Premiership defender that he doesn't fancy coming across.

He said: “Terry is captain so gets a much higher profile. But he’s only secondary to Carvalho. Ricky is superb. He has every quality that is needed.”

Derek Wanner, Goal.com