Fernando Torres's relief at escaping an additional three-match suspension for scratching the Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen has proved short-lived after the striker damaged knee ligaments 36 seconds into Chelsea's victory at Steaua Bucharest.
Torres appeared to open up the joint in his left leg as he challenged Steaua's Cristian Tanase in his side's impressive 4-0 Group E success in Romania, the forward eventually limping from the fray after 11 minutes.
The 27-year-old, who is banned from Sunday's trip to Norwich after receiving two yellow cards at White Hart Lane, will undergo a scan at Cobham todayand, although Chelsea are confident he has not sustained an injury to his cruciate, there are fears over his medial ligaments.
If that is confirmed he may be confronting an absence of up to six weeks. “The doctor is very confident it is not a big injury like we had with Marco van Ginkel,” said José Mourinho, referring to the Dutch midfielder who underwent surgery last week after rupturing a cruciate ligament at Swindon and has been ruled out until March. “But it’s something with his knee, his ligaments, and we have to wait for the scans. He knew he wouldn’t play against Norwich and now he knows he cannot go away with the national team.
“If the injury can be recovered in 15 days then he will be fine for our next match, against Cardiff. The problem is if it’s more time. It’s a pity for the guy because, physically, he was in a very good moment. He played fantastically against Tottenham and deserved to start this game. That’s the bad news.”
Mourinho was in better spirits after seeing his side dismantle Steaua to re-establish their credentials in Group E. “We’ve put ourselves in a more balanced position,” he added. “If we hadn’t won today we’d have been in trouble, but we cleansed a little bit the fact we lost the first game.
“Now everything is there. We have a double fixture against [the group leaders] Schalke, so it’s open. We played a very good game from minute one.”