Benitez: Torres was ill against Swansea and Ba had an injury

Under-fire interim manager Rafael Benitez says Chelsea’s Fernando Torres was struggling with illness against Swansea in midweek and Demba Ba was nursing a hamstring problem.

Torres produced a poor performance before being replaced by Ba for the final 10 minutes of Wednesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final first-leg defeat.

The Spanish striker was barracked by fans, as was Benitez for not bringing on Ba sooner.

However, Benitez insists both players had problems in the build-up to the game but he kept quiet in order to avoid alerting Swans boss Michael Laudrup.

Benitez is unpopular among many fans.
Benitez is unpopular among many fans.

“We couldn’t explain to Michael Laudrup our problems,” said Benitez.

“There was a niggling injury for Demba Ba from a training session before the game, so he had a problem.

“Fernando had a stomach bug but I told him that he had to play because we could not play Demba Ba because he had tightness in his hamstring and we had to be careful with him.

“Fernando was playing with this problem, so in the end you have a professional trying to do his best in a difficult situation, another professional waiting, and another professional making decisions and taking responsibility.

“I was really pleased with the attitude of Fernando because he was trying to play with the problems he had.”

Both players are fully fit and available for Saturday’s match at Stoke, where Ba could return to the starting line-up.

Benitez added: “Fernando has been working as a very, very good professional.

“He had a problem – I was there when he was talking to the doctor about getting some tablets – and he was still playing for the team and giving 100%.”

Meanwhile, John Terry is in the squad for the Stoke game and Petr Cech could also be included.

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