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Rafa insists misfiring Torres can rediscover top form

RAFAEL Benitez insisted Fernando Torres could become the player he once was after watching the striker's woes continue in their first game back working together.

Benitez proved unable to make an instant impact on Torres' form in Chelsea's goalless Premier League draw against Manchester City yesterday, the £50million man failing to muster a single shot on target.

But the Blues' interim manager, who made Torres one of the best players in the world during their three years at Liverpool, saw enough to be confident his fellow Spaniard was not beyond help.

"You could see he was trying very hard," said Benitez, who answered "yes" when asked whether Torres could recapture his Anfield form.

He added: "But I think the team has to help Fernando and create more chances, and he will score goals.

"You cannot expect a striker scoring just on his own, so we have to create more and better chances for him with the players we have."

Indeed, the European champions only produced one shot on target at all in what was a dour game at Stamford Bridge that did nothing to endear Benitez to Blues supporters.

He said: "Obviously, I'm not happy with just one shot on target, but the main thing is to create chances."

At least Benitez stopped the rot at the back, Chelsea having gone 10 games without a clean sheet before yesterday, including last Tuesday's fateful 3-0 Champions League defeat at Juventus.

The draw left Chelsea five points behind Manchester United. "Things change all the time," said Benitez, who revealed Gary Cahill missed yesterday's game through illness but should be fit for Wednesday's derby with Fulham, although Daniel Sturridge is unlikely to return for a game which Benitez will be hoping does not see a repeat of the vitriol heaped on him yesterday.

Benitez claimed not to have understood expletive-laden chants criticising his appointment.

"I was asking, 'What were they singing?'" he said. "I don't care. I'm just focused on the game."