Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas defends Fernando Torres following blank at Norwich City

Andre Villas-Boas launched a staunch defence of Fernando Torres after the Spanish hitman misfired again at Carrow Road.

Torres was foiled by John Ruddy's fingertips before the interval and the �50m man poked wide after the break from close range in Saturday's goalless draw to prolong a barren spell in the Premier League dating back to September

Villas-Boas eventually hauled Torres off late on to unleash the muscular threat of Romelu Lukaku – but Chelsea's Portuguese boss reiterated the Blues' number nine remains a key part of his Stamford Bridge revolution.

'Torres tried really hard and his moves once again were sharp and incisive,' he said. 'He is trying really hard to get the goals that we want but he had a major impact in our attacking game and we were happy with his play.

'He's doing excellent things for the team – it doesn't matter who scores the goals. In terms of efficiency, he couldn't find the back of the net, but we are not looking just for that, we are looking for him to produce for the team, and the team have had a good amount of chances to win the game –the difference was that we didn't score from any of them.

'I thought Lukaku could threaten more in behind and offer more mobility and Fernando was looking tired. Lukaku came in to the game strong and making good movements so sharpness and freshness were why we made the decision.'

Villas-Boas also paid tribute to Ruddy's individual brilliance which typified the Canaries' resolve.

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'We created enough opportunities to win the game,' he said. 'The first half was split between the two teams with good opportunities each. The second-half we created a lot more and managed to be dominant but couldn't find the back of the net.

'Had we found it, we would have taken three points because we looked solid and consistent.

'The players really fought hard to get the winning goal but we couldn't find this winning goal through our lack of efficiency and also due to Ruddy's amazing performance. Bearing in mind Norwich's run of form, you could say that it's not a bad point, but the fact that you want to be champions puts things in a different perspective.

'This is very difficult place to come to but we did really well in terms of our attacking options.'

Villas-Boas' men went into the Norwich game looking to make up ground on the top three title contenders. Leaving Carrow Road with a point forced him to deflect questions whether the Blues' Champions League spot is in danger.

'If you look at the stats, we are in the top three teams for creating chances but the efficiency was not there and this represents where we are in the table,' he said, speaking prior to Sunday's clashes at the top. 'We will have to wait to see if this game is one point won or two points dropped.

'I'm not worried (about finishing lower than fourth). I've been saying if for quite some time, we just need to find the consistency to get the three points on a good run and we haven't found that winning consistency that makes the title challenge really strong. That is the reality. There is no lack of ambition and motivation, just because we are admitting the reality. That is straight-forward.

'I know you might speculate that we won't find the right motivation but I disagree with that when you play for a top club, you must always be motivated.'

Frank Lampard cut a forlorn figure on the Blues' bench following his early first half exit with a suspected calf tear. Villas-Boas was optimistic the midfielder will not be sidelined for long, although Lampard will remain in London for further treatment with Chelsea heading to Majorca for a five-day break ahead of their FA Cup tie at QPR.

'The doctors tell me it's something not very serious, it's obviously a muscle tear,' said Villas-Boas. 'We'll have to find the extent of the injury. Only through the MRI can we know how much time he's going to be out.'