Benitez backs Torres to find form
Rafael Benitez insisted Fernando Torres could become the player he once was after watching the striker's woes continue in their first game back working together.
Benitez proved unable to make an instant impact on Torres' form in Chelsea's goalless Barclays Premier League draw against Manchester City yesterday, the €62million man failing to muster a single shot on target.
But the Blues' interim manager, who made Torres one of the best players in the world during their three years at Liverpool, saw enough to be confident his fellow Spaniard was not beyond help.
"You could see he was trying very hard," said Benitez, who answered "Yes" when asked whether Torres could recapture his Anfield form.
He added: "But I think the team has to help Fernando and create more chances, and he will score goals.
"You cannot expect a striker scoring just on his own, so we have to create more and better chances for him with the players we have."
"I think the team has to help Fernando and create more chances, and he will score goals" - Rafael Benitez
Indeed, the European champions only produced one shot on target at all in what was a dour game at Stamford Bridge that did nothing to endear Benitez to Blues supporters following the most savage of receptions before kick-off.
He said: "Obviously, I'm not happy with just one shot on target, but the main thing is to create chances and go close."
At least Benitez stopped the rot at the back, Chelsea having gone 10 games without a clean sheet before today, including Tuesday's fateful 3-0 Champions League defeat at Juventus.
"The team weren't performing at their level in the last games and lost a bit of confidence from the Champions League game," Benitez said.
"But this was a clean sheet after so many games. You have some positives.
"I'm not 100% satisfied because I want to win. But there aren't too may teams better than City in the Premier League."
The draw left Chelsea five points behind Manchester United a third of the way through the season.
"Things change all the time," said Benitez, who revealed Gary Cahill missed yesterday's game through illness but should be fit for Wednesday's derby with Fulham.
Daniel Sturridge is unlikely to return for a game in which Benitez will be hoping does not see a repeat of the vitriol directed at him yesterday.
Benitez claimed to have not understood expletive-laden chants which included the words: "You're not welcome here."
"I was asking: 'What were they singing?'." he said.
"I don't care. I'm just focused on the game."
When informed what fans had chanted, Benitez admitted he was not shocked following some of the questions at his unveiling on Thursday.
"It was a surprise for you after the other day?" he said.
"Some of the fans will realise it's not the way to support their team."