Rafa: Torres not the player he was
Rafael Benitez has admitted he does not know whether Fernando Torres can recapture his Liverpool form at Chelsea.
Interim Blues manager Benitez insisted he could improve the fortunes of Torres, who he helped become one of the best strikers in the world at Anfield and has flopped since his £50million move to Stamford Bridge.
"He's not exactly the same player now, because he was at maximum level at this time [at Liverpool," said Benitez. "But I think he can come back. How close? I don't know. It depends on the rest of the team. I'm sure he can improve, but the team has to help him."
Torres also has to help himself, as does Benitez, following a run of just 19 goals in 88 games for the European champions.
"The first thing is to give him some confidence, instructions as to how he can do things in a different way, improve him a little bit physically," said Benitez. "You need to be stronger in defence, regain the ball easier and then you can create your own chances. That will benefit Torres."
Benitez denied he was under pressure to pick Torres amid reports previous Chelsea managers had been given the impression by owner Roman Abramovich that the club's record signing must play.
"It's easy at the moment because [Daniel] Sturridge is still injured," he said.
Indeed, Sturridge is Chelsea's only other recognised centre-forward and it seems unthinkable they will not attempt bolster their attack in the January transfer window. But Benitez said: "I can guarantee I've been so busy, I haven't had time to watch any DVDs, or have conversations about this or that player.
"I have to improve the players who are here."
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