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Torres: Chelsea experience has been character building

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has emerged a more rounded individual for his turbulent first 18 months at Stamford Bridge. The Spaniard looks certain to lead the line again against former club Atletico Madrid tomorrow in the UEFA Super Cup and speaking in Monaco he said: "I would change nothing that happened to me last season.

"That taught me a lot of things. I learned a lot about a lot of people, in both ways. I learned a lot of things last season - good, bad. It made me a better player, a better person, and I'm stronger than ever now."

He added: "In these 18 months, I've become a better player. I have played in a different way to that I played at Liverpool.

"I can play more outside the box, associating more with my team-mates. I gave a lot of assists last season. I can mix it more."

Torres admitted that last term he was having to prove himself all over again.

"I'd never been on the bench like eight games in a row," he said.

"I started to understand everyone in the team. When you're playing, you don't think about these things.

"But when you're there, you understand what people go through on the bench. It was a new experience. I learned a lot of things about that, which made me a better team-mate.

"I always tried to be a good team-mate, as I was as captain in Madrid. But I lost that at Liverpool, when I was never captain.

"[At Chelsea] I went back to when I was 17 or 18, having to fight every day for my place.

"I never want to go back to that situation again."

Torres claims he never felt the pressure of being the most expensive player ever transferred between British clubs.

"The money Chelsea paid for me was never something I was worried about," he said.

"It didn't make me play badly. It was just a difficult change from Liverpool to Chelsea. The adaptation took more time than it should.

"But all these things are in the past. Let's think about the present. The future can be brilliant, even better."

He added: "You know you're going to play, or think you are, and that gives you more time to play your football.

"That's the main difference between this and the previous one-and-a-half seasons at Chelsea.

"I'm playing more minutes and the confidence is back."

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Dave Williams

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