Demba Ba insists his arrival at Chelsea has done nothing to affect Fernando Torres’s position as the main striker at Stamford Bridge.
Ba made the perfect start to his Blues career following his ￡7.5 million (US$12 million) move from Newcastle United, scoring twice in Chelsea’s 5-1 FA Cup third-round victory at Southampton while Torres remained on the bench.
Torres is expected to be restored to the line-up when Premier League rivals Swansea City visit west London for the first leg of the League Cup semi-final today, although Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez could pair the two strikers from the start.
Ba’s impact means Chelsea immediately appear much less reliant on the inconsistent Torres and he may well challenge the Spain international’s position as the first-choice forward in the longer term.
However, the Senegal striker has made it clear he sees Torres as the senior partner as he attempts to establish himself at his new club.
“I just want to enjoy my football, it’s not about pressure, it’s about playing a game I like and that’s what I’m doing,” Ba said. “I’m here to help the group and the team; it’s not about taking the position of someone else. I know Fernando is the main man. I’ve just come, I will learn from people and I will learn from him as well because his history is much bigger than mine.”
The forward said he has already benefited from playing in front of European champions Chelsea’s playmakers, including Juan Mata and Frank Lampard.
“It makes football look easy, I just try to run in behind and create space for the midfielders because I know when they have space they will be dangerous,” he added.
“When you have players like this, that understand football perfectly, you just have to run and the ball will come into your feet, and that’s what I tried to do,” Ba said.
“I’m very pleased, I saw it when I played against them, but they are world-class players and when you play with them it’s completely different. They create spaces, provide good passes and they are very intelligent in their game,” he added.
A convincing victory in the first leg will turn thoughts towards a place in the Wembley final and divert attention away from Lampard’s contract situation.
Steve Kutner, the England midfielder’s agent, said that Lampard, 34, has been told he will definitely not be offered a new deal.
“Chelsea executives told Frank in Japan, then again re-confirmed with his agent after the Everton victory that in no circumstances will he be offered a new contract to stay at Chelsea Football Club after the end of this season,” Kutner said. “Nothing since has changed in any respect.”