Benitez defends Torres after Chelsea win

Rafael Benitez defended Fernando Torres following Chelsea’s Europa League victory against Sparta Prague.

The striker missed a number of chances at Stamford Bridge, where Eden Hazard’s last-gasp goal salvaged a 1-1 draw which took the Blues into the last 16 with a 2-1 aggregate win.

Torres’ woes in front of goal continue, but interim manager Benitez insisted he still has faith in him.

“We can be talking about Fernando not scoring after he had four chances but I can change that to a positive and say he had four chances,” said Benitez.

“I have seen games where he didn’t have chances, but today he did. For the team he was doing a great job.

“It is not the situation that the striker has disappeared and you don’t see him. He was in the right place at the right time to get chances.

“Is he disappointed not to score? Of course. But he is doing well with his movement and working hard for the team.

“I’m sure on another day he will score one or two goals. I agree if he could take the chances it would be better, but he is playing well.

“If he continues working like he did today he will score goals. I am convinced about that.”

Torres squandered two excellent opportunities before Chelsea’s 1-0 lead from the first leg was wiped out.

And he again missed the target after the break before Hazard, on as a substitute, fired home in the dying seconds.

Benitez said: “We had two or three chances before they scored and we knew scoring the first goal would make it difficult for them mentally.

“It was the opposite – they scored and we had to manage the anxiety – but we did well, creating chances and having 60% of the possession.

“We made mistakes and allowed them to counter-attack, but we created enough chances to go through.”



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