Friday 6 December 2019

Torres facing time on bench as Benitez aims to freshen up Chelsea attack

Gordon Tynan

Rafael Benitez has told Fernando Torres to expect more time on the bench in the second half of the season, as he looks to freshen up his forward line in January.

Chelsea are in the midst of attempting to prise Demba Ba away from Newcastle and even though club sources have admitted negotiations with the Senegalese forward's representatives have been "unproductive", Benitez has spoken of his need to "manage" Torres through periods of rest. He is also aware of his limited options up front at the moment, with Daniel Sturridge's impending move to Liverpool.

Torres has started all of Chelsea's 19 Premier League games this season with a return of seven goals. But Benitez said: "We are trying to manage the team so when I can change Fernando I will do it. 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."

Benitez accepts Chelsea "need bodies", which brings the inevitable question of who is actually in charge of sanctioning signings, given that the manager is at Stamford Bridge on a short-term deal.

And he ducked the question of whether any additions would be brought in at his say-so, merely saying: "I will be the manager so I will manage them."

As Chelsea welcome close neighbours QPR to Stamford Bridge tonight, Benitez says recent results have instilled belief in the side. QPR will be without three or four players for the short trip. Boss Harry Redknapp revealed a number of his squad picked up knocks during Sunday's 3-0 defeat to Liverpool but refused to give away any names.

Park Ji-sung returned to training but remains a major doubt as he recovers from a knee problem. (© Independent News Service)

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