Fernando Torres not for sale - Chelsea boss Villas-Boas

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has insisted striker Fernando Torres is not for sale "at any price".

Villas-Boas was responding to the suggestion Torres will be sold during the January transfer window following a frustrating year at Stamford Bridge.

"It's not true, he is not available at any price," said the Portuguese.

"We are pretty sure when Fernando is called up he will respond with the quality and talent he has. We have to make the best decisions for the team."

Torres, bought from Liverpool for £50m in January 2011, has scored only four times in 17 appearances for Chelsea this season.

The Spain international only found the net once in 18 appearances for the Blues last season, but Villas-Boas is confident he can help Torres rediscover his best form.

"We have to be very, very patient and I'm sure that we can turn this around," said Villas-Boas.

"We'll have to continue to push. That's one of the prerogatives of the manager, to try to get the best out of everybody. It takes time.

"I think it comes with self-confidence and motivation and hitting the back of the net.

"This was happening for Fernando in the first two or three months of the season."

Rafael Benitez, the man who brought Torres to English football, agrees with Villas-Boas that Torres will eventually hit top form for the London club.

Benitez, in charge of Liverpool when the Merseyside giants spent £20m on acquiring Torres from Atletico Madrid in 2007, said the striker would get his chance given that Didier Drogba is away on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast from mid-January.

Nicolas Anelka, another forward, has also been sold, to Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua.

"He [Torres] knows he has to wait for his opportunity now," Benitez told BBC World Service's World Football show.

"He has to work hard in the training sessions and be ready. Drogba is playing well now but he will leave. Fernando has to show he is as good as we know he is."

Villas-Boas also responded to veteran midfielder Frank Lampard's recent complaints about being left out of Chelsea's starting line-up.

Lampard, an England international, started on the bench for the second successive game against Manchester City on Monday but scored his side's winner in a 2-1 victory.

"There are plenty of players that push for the starting XI and Frank is not the only one," added Villas-Boas.

TORRES AT CHELSEA

  • 31 Jan 2011: Signed for £50m
  • 2010/11 season: 18 appearances for Chelsea/1 goal
  • 2011/12: 17 appearances/4 goals

"I think 'Lamps' is one of the top five players most used. Every player wants to be involved in every game but sometimes it's just not possible.

"We've been having conversations with all the players, we treat them all equally. The club's direction and fortune is the most important thing.

"There is no hiding that 'Lamps' represents the best in the history of the club. These are players of massive magnitude and represent Chelsea's success but in our opinion every player must be treated equally. Sometimes we can't please everybody."

In addition, Villas-Boas said he was confident Drogba would keep giving his all for the side, despite the club not planning to offer him the two-year deal he desires.

"There will be no question about his professionalism and integrity," said Villas-Boas at a media conference on Thursday. "I am sure he will keep on representing Chelsea this season."