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Five Aside

Benitez: Torres doing a great job

Rafa Benitez has again defended Fernando Torres, saying the Chelsea striker is starting to score a lot in training while praising his defensive work.

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Torres has now gone over 11 hours without a goal, but Benitez said confidence is still not an issue for the £50 million striker.

"Fernando is doing a great job," he said. "Yesterday we have a training session with finishing and Fernando scored a lot of goals. I think he has more confidence and, the team-mates, they know he is trying very hard and that is the main thing."

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville criticised Torres' movement on Monday night but, asked about the former Manchester United defender's comments, Benitez made note of Torres work off the ball and when defending set-pieces.

"I think Fernando is a great player and the team know he is a great player. If he is in the right positions they will play with him; if he is in the wrong positions, maybe not. I can make a lot of analyses here, watching television, one way or another and I will be right.

"I think the main thing is what you can see as a manager, on the pitch and in training sessions. It's not just scoring goals. I will say something, we change his position for corners, for example. If you analyse, I don't know if Gary Neville has this opportunity but, if you analyse the corners in the game, he was amazing.

"He was two or three times clearing the goal. And, after, he was just doing man-to-man. He is a big lad. But he's a striker so we put him in front and he was really good, so he's helping the team.

"As a striker you want him to score goals but I would like to see Fernando scoring goals and the team winning, scoring a lot of goals from different parts of the pitch so the main thing is to win. Fernando is going to be an important player for us but the others have to score as well."

Benitez also denied that the striker needs particular types of through-balls - such as those provided by Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso during his best spell at Liverpool - in order to score. By contrast, he put it down to defenders now knowing how he plays.

"At the beginning, Gerrard and Alonso could pass the ball very quickly and Fernando could pass defenders with his pace. Now, it's different style. The teams know his game, he has space, Chelsea has to be an attacking team so it's not the same situation. But still I think we have to create better chances for him, he will score goals and his confidence will come."


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