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Jan 1, 2013

Benitez: Torres will accept bench role

Rafael Benitez voiced confidence that Fernando Torres will accept occasionally sitting on the bench if Chelsea bring in another striker during the transfer window.

With Liverpool-bound Daniel Sturridge having been out of favor for most of the season, Torres has been a constant fixture in the Blues team, starting every league game.

"We are trying to manage the team so when I can change Fernando I will do it," Chelsea's interim coach said Tuesday. "We will try to manage him and hopefully we can do things properly. He wants the team winning games and he understands that is the way so he will accept this."

Although he has performed better of late, Torres is undoubtedely still short of the form he exhibited under Benitez at Liverpool.

Chelsea has been linked with a number of strikers, with Radamel Falcao, Demba Ba and Andre Schurrle all reported to be on Benitez's radar as he attempts to bring in some competition for the former Atletico Madrid man.

With the transfer window now open, it seems only a matter of time before Chelsea lands one of its targets and when it does, Benitez insists Torres will understand that he will be rotated.

Chelsea on Monday held what were described as "unproductive" talks with Ba's representatives after entering the race to sign the Newcastle striker.

One thing the Blues have on their side in negotiations is the fact that they will almost certainly be able to offer the 27-year-old Champions League football next season.

Indeed, should Chelsea sign Ba, he may well end up being involved in a title challenge for the second half of the season.

After four successive Barclays Premier League wins, the Londoners sit 14 points adrift of leaders Manchester United with two games in hand ahead of Wednesday night's meeting with QPR, but Benitez insists his thoughts, and those of his players, are not drifting towards the prospect of a title assault.

"I don't like to think about this," Benitez said. "I like to think about the next game and three points. It is important to give the players this mentality.

"My job is to think about the next three or four or five games and if I have to adjust something I will do it," he said. "But the players just have to think 'This is my game, I have to give 100 per cent to win this game'."

With Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel due to depart for African Nations Cup duty following the QPR game, Benitez admits he needs to bring players in during January.

"You can always improve things, especially when you have injuries, and we lose two players to the African Nations Cup," the Spaniard said. "Obviously we need bodies but I am really pleased with the squad, they train well, the commitment is there and they are keen to learn. I think we will do our job (in the window) and hopefully it will be a good job."

Chelsea will again be without captain John Terry for the visit of Rangers as he continues to struggle with his comeback from a knee injury.

The Blues are also without goalkeeper Petr Cech, who came off at halftime during Sunday's 2-1 win over Everton with an adductor injury.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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