Saturday, January 12, 2013


The Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez revealed there was a reason behind £50m flop Torres’ below-par performance, not to mention sulky demeanour which was he was carrying a stomach bug picked up seven days earlier which required medication.

Benitez hit back at the Chelsea critics who call for his head and now curse the £50million problem player he was supposed to fix.

Fernando Torres had been immune from the toxic atmosphere engulfing the interim manager since he took over, but a listless display against Swansea in midweek saw the corrosive taunts directed towards the striker, too.

Fans are threatening to boycott Stamford Bridge until the senior Spaniard is gone, claiming the club has lost its soul, while the 28-year-old striker has seen his support from the stands plummet. But Benitez told those disgruntled followers: ‘You will love him again.’

‘He was playing with this problem,’ said Benitez. ‘You have a professional trying to do his best in this situation for the team. I was really pleased with the attitude of Fernando.

‘We had to manage the situation. It was explained to me as a bug, a virus. He had a problem for a week or more. The other day he was sick on the bench. That’s why I didn’t play him at Southampton. I was there when he was with the doctor, needing tablets. He had some treatment.

‘When he starts scoring again the fans will appreciate this. The fans loved Torres when he was scoring and giving everything. They will love him again when he starts scoring goals.’

‘As a top-level player you have to accept you can be criticised. He is a very good professional. He had the problem but he was still training and playing.’ 

Benitez denied Torres received preferential treatment because of the large outlay on him and hinted that Torres and Ba could be partnered up front in future.

The former Liverpool boss has become practised at deflecting questions which ask how he can be a success when those in the stands so vehemently voice their disapproval.

According to him, it is all about winning. Earning points and  progressing in competitions turns the jeers to cheers.

‘I would prefer them to support the manager and the players,’ he said. ‘But that’s the way it is. If we continue winning it will be easier and players will be under less pressure. Then we’ll be fine.

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