Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has warned Barcelona that "the best team doesn't always win" as the Blues prepare to defend a 1-0 lead in their Champions League semifinal second leg.
The Spaniard feels that his countrymen are "a step ahead of all other clubs" but is adamant that his side can finish them off to reach May's final, just as the club won the first leg despite only enjoying 28 percent of possession.
"It's clear that Barcelona are a step ahead of all other clubs. They have reached the last five semifinals, and that's not easy at all, but this is football. The best team doesn't always win," he declared to the official UEFA website.
"Xavi and [Andres] Iniesta are players who dictate the rhythm of the game. When you play against them, you need to know that they are guiding the game. Many teams who play Barcelona think that you have to steal the ball from them, but I don't think that's possible. You have to use different weapons against them. If you want to steal the ball, you won't manage it and you'll get tired, and then create more space for your opponent."
The forward praised the impact of interim manager Roberto Di Matteo in psyching the team up for the battle against Barca.
"His message is clearly aimed at team spirit ‒ fighting," Torres added. "You have to fight and then your talent will come through afterwards.
"When all of that comes together, you'll overcome your opponent most of the time. But everybody understands what he wants. It is all for the club. He came from this club, he played here, so he is from here."
Torres' poor scoring record since arriving in a 61 million euro deal in Jan. 2011 has drawn harsh criticism but he observed that he is adapting to suit his new environment.
"This team has slightly changed the way I play, because of their style," said the former Liverpool star. "For me the most important thing is to score goals ‒ that's what I practice every day ‒ but we all know that this season has been tough and the team is the most important thing.
"It would be a catastrophe to miss out on the Champions League [next season], and we must be prepared to do anything to achieve this. It doesn't matter who plays, who scores, who gives the assists and who stays out. The important thing is that we are successful."
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