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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Benitez plans Torres revival

Rafael Benitez is confident he can bring out the best in Fernando Torres at Chelsea, after being named the club's new manager on Wednesday.

• Delaney: One extreme to the other
• Blog: Chelsea risk fans' backlash
• Tyler: It could be worse

Benitez, who is set to be officially unveiled at a press conference later on Thursday, will hope to prove to Roman Abramovich that he is worthy of a longer stay at Stamford Bridge after signing a short-term deal at the club.

One of the keys to Benitez's reign may prove to be the form of Torres, who has never found top gear since his record-breaking £50 million transfer from Liverpool.

The Spain international scored 65 goals in 102 league appearances for Liverpool, operating largely under the influence of Benitez. His Chelsea statistics read a much more modest 11 strikes in 58 games.

Benitez told Sport360 on Wednesday: "I think you can see in his face that he is almost trying too hard. But I think the potential is still there.

"The problem with some players is that they are doing so well in a team and the understanding is so good that it is difficult to replicate that in another team."

Chelsea have often been accused of failing to play to Torres' strengths, with the ball moved through midfield much slower than he was used to at Liverpool, where he operated in front of Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard.

The last game of Roberto Di Matteo's Chelsea reign saw Torres benched as the Italian opted for a formation that included no out-and-out strikers, much like Spain used at Euro 2012. Benitez, though, appears willing to give Torres the conditions he needs to flourish.

"Sometimes it's a question of time, he's a good player, is keen to learn and is a good pro," the Chelsea boss said.

Benitez flew in to England on Thursday to lead his first training session with his newly adopted Chelsea squad. His first test will be a clash with Premier League champions Manchester City this weekend.

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