No matter how many chances he gets, it seems that anything Fernando Torres had going for him earlier this season and then again from time to time has almost been depleted, with both Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, despite countless tries, failing to make the broken Chelsea striker to work like before. Luckily, Oscar does have some football to overcome his physical adaptation to Europe.
If it wasn’t for the young Brazilian entering in the 81st minute and scoring on pretty much the first of his touches, injecting pace and enthusiasm from the first minute he was on the pitch, the 1-0 in Prague against Sparta would probably have gone down as another moment in which Fernando Torres’ career took a step in the wrong direction. At least when he’s playing badly, he’s doing it for Chelsea and not for a club no one even notices, with no real chance of being close to any title.
Not that Chelsea are that close to winning titles, but still. You’d think that not having Demba Ba on the bench would insert some confidence in the Spaniard, knowing that whatever he does, no one will replace him. Maybe without that sense of urgency, there was no hope in the first place. Torres has scored only one goal in his last 13 matches, and unlike last season when didn’t even get shots at goal, this time he’s simply missing from easy opportunities set up for him by Mata and Hazard.
Benitez? He was happy, but despite the away win, seemed very unhappy with the finishing of his team, that had plenty of chances to put the match and the two legs to bed before the 90 minutes were up. Of course, he couldn’t specifically blame Torres from being a shade of his former self.
Eighteen attempts away is not bad, but we have to be more clinical in attack. The first 20 minutes we were in control. We had some half chances; it was a cross, we weren’t there. We were in control. After this 20 minutes they were pushing and pushing. The team, as a team, had problems defending. We changed a little bit in the second half. I think the concentration of the team was much better, the intensity in defense was much better and then we had more control.
Anything about Torres? Nothing bad to say. Benitez keeps talking about Torres’ work ethic and the need of the team to build him up and create chances for him. All of that is happening. Torres isn’t keeping his end of the bargain.
We have to create more opportunities and the strikers will score more goals. His work rate today was really good and thanks to him the rest of the team, especially the second line of offensive players, they could create. His job today was push-and-run and keep their defenders deep so he could create space for the other players. Everybody expects from a striker just to score goals, but he’s doing also a great job for the team.