Mata defends Chelsea teammate Torres after Tottenham red card

Juan Mata has defended his Chelsea and Spain teammate Fernando Torres after the striker was sent off against Tottenham Hotspur, the Daily Mail has reported, with Mata insisting Torres is not a violent player.

Torres was dismissed for receiving two yellow cards, the first of which came after a spat with Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen, appearing to grab the Belgium international by the face after complaining that Vertonghen had gone down too easily from a Torres challenge. The newspaper suggests Torres could have been shown a straight red in that incident – he was eventually sent off after appearing to catch Vertonghen with his arm during an aerial challenge.

I don’t know [about the red card] but Fernando is not a player who goes to hurt,” Mata, a half-time substitute, said.

Mata made an impact on the game, sending over the free-kick that led to Chelsea’s equalising goal, having again been left out of the starting XI by Jose Mourinho. But Mourinho has promised Mata will start in the Champions League against Steaua Bucharest, while Mata has vowed to be professional even if he is not in the manager’s favour.

Obviously everyone wants to play but, I am a professional, I respect all of my team mates and what I want to do is enjoy it on the pitch, and I think against Tottenham I did that,” Mata said. “We needed to improve and we tried to, and when I came on I just tried to give my best for the team.

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