• Manager warns striker that he will have to fight for his place
• Di Matteo insists Frank Lampard has a future at the club
The Chelsea manager, Roberto Di Matteo, has warned Fernando Torres that he is not guaranteed a place in the starting line-up despite the departure of Didier Drogba.
The 28-year-old, signed from Liverpool in a £50m deal in January 2011, had launched an outburst at the Blues in the wake of their Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich, attacking his treatment by the club and threatening to quit. However, Torres later backtracked, claiming he is now ready to fulfil his dreams with Chelsea after admitting he "lost hope" in his early days at Stamford Bridge.
Di Matteo maintained there was no lingering issues with the Spain forward, who scored three goals during Spain's successful Euro 2012 campaign and was the winner of the Golden Boot, but insisted that despite the departure of Drogba, Torres should not automatically expect to now be first choice.
"There is no concerns about Fernando at all," said Di Matteo, who was appointed to the Chelsea job on a permanent basis having taken over from André Villas-Boas and won the FA Cup before triumphing on penalties in Munich.
"I did have a chat with him the morning after the final, and have been in touch since as well. It [the disappointment] was a feeling he had at the time, but I will continue to speak to the players. I am expecting him here in a good mood, to be buzzing and be very good next season. Certainly winning the Golden Boot and the Euros, along with the trophies they won with us should give them a lot of confidence. I expect him next season to be a fantastic player with us.
"We have three strikers at the moment in the squad, and I would not be saying who is going to be playing. They will all have to fight for their position and there is healthy competition. Whomever is in the best form and can give the best for the team will be playing."
Di Matteo also feels Frank Lampard can have another big part to play next season, as the 34-year-old England midfielder – who is coming to the end of his current Chelsea contract – looks to bounce back from the thigh injury which ruled him out of Euro 2012. "Frank is a very fit man and can play for many years to come," said Di Matteo. "He was very influential towards the end of last season maybe playing a little deeper role. He made some key passes and he performed very well. "I was very happy. It depends on how he feels physically and mentally and I don't see any problems with him going on." Read More
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