London – Chelsea's £50 million striker Fernando Torres, who appears to have lost the knack of scoring goals, was lauded for his defensive qualities by manager Rafael Benitez on Tuesday.
Torres has scored once in his last 11 games for Chelsea and his form is light years away from that which he used to show for Liverpool which in turn prompted club owner Roman Abramovich to break the British transfer record to sign the Spaniard 22 months ago.
Chelsea's interim manager Rafael Benitez (right) talks to Fernando Torres during a team training session at their training ground in Cobham. Credit: REUTERS
His recent displays have drawn scorn from some Chelsea fans but Benitez said Torres's job was not all about scoring goals despite being the club's main striker.
Reacting to a television analysis of Torres' sluggish recent performances by former Manchester United defender Gary Neville, Benitez disagreed that the striker had lost the confidence of his teammates.
“The main thing is what you can see as a manager on the pitch and training sessions and he is doing well,” Benitez told reporters at Chelsea's training ground.
“He scored a lot of goals in training today. He is a great player and if he is the right positions they will play with him and if he's not they won't.
“It's not just scoring goals. If you analyse the corners (against us) he was amazing, two or three times clearing the ball. He was helping the team defend.
“But as a striker you want him to score goals.”
“It's harder for him (than when he played for Liverpool) because now teams drop off and he has less space,” added Benitez. “But still we must create better chances for him.
“Torres is an important player but we need goals from other players too.”
Torres will be hoping to end his barren spell on Wednesday when Chelsea host Nordsjaelland in the Champions League needing a victory to have any chance of reaching the last 16. – Reuters