Benitez in need of back-up for lonely forward Torres

 

A little burst of six goals in five games and Fernando Torres supposedly has his mojo back. Just as he was assumed to have done after scoring three times in the first four matches of the season. It is the long droughts in between times that cause concern, and should continue to do so until more convincing evidence of a genuine rehabilitation is forthcoming.

Whether or not we will ever again see the world-class striker of 2007-10 – which remains highly unlikely now that injury has limited his fabled powers of acceleration – any significant improvement in form needs to be reflected in his all-round game as much as an ability to put tap-ins the right side of the post. Then the hunched shoulders and drooping head of the past two years may be held high again, even if the ludicrous £50 million transfer fee can never be repaid.

Of course, it suits Rafa Benitez to play up the positives and ideally to claim some of the credit. His expensive recruitment as Chelsea's new manager was, after all, based partly on him having been the man who signed his fellow Spaniard for Liverpool and oversaw a devastating period when he was the leader of a line that brought 80 goals in 132 games.

Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas- Boas and Roberto Di Matteo could work no such magic, and Benitez is now having to coax the players they left him into feeding what he has to hope are still Torres's strengths.

"Little things have helped," the manager revealed on Friday, "like we have told him to go high around the [penalty] box, because we have players like [Eden] Hazard and Oscar who can work behind him. He understands this. He is a player who can run behind defenders and he has to do what he was doing well.

"He has always been trying hard. Now perhaps he is trying hard in the right positions. You can see he now has the confidence to do well and he is getting closer to how he was at Liverpool."

One fortunate by-product of the strange balance of Chelsea's squad is that, as the only fit striker, Torres has had to be kept playing rather than having his fragile confidence further damaged by being left out when it really matters, as he was for Didier Drogba in the Champions' League final.

"He is playing because he is doing well, and with [Daniel] Sturridge injured he is the only option we have at the moment," Benitez said. "He knows that in a top side if you want to challenge for all the trophies you need competition in the squad. It is important for us to have different options, hopefully for him and for the team too."

The existing ones seem to have been ruled out. A disenchanted Sturridge will leave for Liverpool if contractual difficulties can be ironed out and there are no plans to bring back Romelu Lukaku from his loan at West Bromwich Albion.

All of which means that Roman Abramovich may have to risk another financial gamble in January on a player who will either keep Torres out of the team or have to spend significant periods on the bench himself.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine