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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 10, 2007

Benitez sets strikers 60-goal target

Rafael Benitez wants goals, goals, goals and an immediate return for his £40million summer spending spree.

Benitez is well aware he is under intense pressure to produce a genuine title challenge and that, as Jose Mourinho points out, he cannot play the pauper any longer.

But he goes into the new campaign at Aston Villa brimming with confidence and positively gloating over the quality and options he now has.

Benitez said: 'If you want to be contenders then you have to score a lot more goals than we did.'

To that end Benitez has challenged his four-pronged strike force to hit 60 goals between them.

He sees no problem in accommodating Fernando Torres, Andriy Voronin, Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch and is relishing the chance to see them produce a feast of goals.

He said: 'I am not thinking about Torres scoring 20 or more goals. What I would like would be to see is Voronin scoring 10 to 15 goals, Crouch, Kuyt and Torres all the same.

'If we can score goals too from midfield to add to that, that is my aim and that would make me happy.

'I am not sure you need one player who can score 20 goals, you need more options and goals from everywhere in the team.

'When we play against teams like Manchester United, we must win. If you can take six points from them, and points from your other close rivals, then that can make a really big difference.

'It is something we have to learn. Of course you must continue to beat the smaller sides, but taking points from your close rivals is very important.

'I am happy now with my squad. We have two players for every position, that will make things easier for me as we play on four fronts.'

Benitez is determined to make an impact in all four competitions rather than having to virtually choose two because of the size and quality of previous squads.

He added: 'Of course we want to win the Champions League, the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Carling Cup. That goes without saying.

'Obviously the Premier League is the main priority. We will not just try for the main one and forget the rest.

'We will try to do our best in every game, now we have enough players to do a better job on all fronts.

'My first year here I was looking at a subs bench full of young lads. Now we could have Torres, Voronin, Crouch or Kuyt there, that means we can compete in all the competitions.

'Watching the players you can see they are ready. We have pace and are organised. You must be like that in the Premier League. 'I feel we have better players, more offensive players and a good team spirit. I have a lot of confidence, but we have to start by winning now.

'I have had money to spend, I prefer that because I can buy better players and that is better for the club.

'The difference now is that I have a much bigger squad than when I arrived. Now we have more players and more quality.

'This is the best squad we have had in four seasons, hopefully it will be even better the season after. The only thing that might concern me is whether they are ready for this competition.'

Benitez is expected to give new signings Torres, Voronin and Yossi Benayoun their league debuts at Villa Park, adding: 'We can do better this season. We knew we were good in defence but we needed to score more goals, so we have signed more offensive players.

'We have tried to improve in the areas we know we had to improve in, and we now we are ready.

'We will try to attack more. I like to attack more and create chances, but we were missing them. What we needed to do was to improve on that.

'The top four will again be the ones contesting the title, plus now Spurs, they have spent well.

'It will be a harder league to win than before, it is always the best and always the most difficult.'

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