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Arsenal can lay down a marker


Benitez plays down Torres relevance

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has insisted he has not been hired by Blues owner Roman Abramovich merely to reignite the fire inside striker Fernando Torres and has claimed the £50m Spaniard has the perfect attitude to ensure he rediscovers his best form at Stamford Bridge.

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Torres credits Benitez for transforming him into one of the world's premier strikers during his hugely successful tenure at Liverpool and the coach who has succeeded Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea is convinced their revived relationship can be as successful as it was at Anfield.

"I knew everyone would talk about Fernando," said Benitez at a packed press conference. "Everyone is talking about him not doing well at Chelsea, but when I was watching games, I always felt his attitude was very good. At training today, his attitude was good and together, we can win big things for this club.

"This is not just about Fernando's good attitude. Fernando is a top class player and he will improve like the rest. I will say I saw a lot of players with a great attitude at the training ground. Oscar, Ramires, (Cesar) Azpilicueta, I see a great attitude.

"Can we help them to improve? We will do our best. I know how good all the players can be. Fernando is one of the important players of this team. I will try to improve him like I improve all the others."

The press conference concluded a whirlwind 24 hours for Benitez after he flew back to the UK from Abu Dhabi, observed his first Chelsea training session at their Cobham training base and then attend his unveiling at Stamford Bridge.

His day was set to be completed with what he confirmed would be his first conversation with Abramovich, as he revealed all his contact with the club to date has gone through Abramovich's football adviser, Michael Emenalo.

"I speak with Michael Emenalo, he is my link," stated Benitez. "I like to talk about football with him. I can talk to him about players, systems, tactics. My agent was doing his job, I was focusing on other things. The information I have is, the owner likes to see his team playing good football. He is not involved every day, telling the manager he has to do this or that.

"It will be easier here. At Liverpool I had owners who were arguing and that was difficult. I wanted to sign a striker, one says this the other no. This will be easy."


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