Benitez defends Torres after unconvincing win
Sparta Prague 0 Chelsea 1:Rafael Benitez called for Chelsea to be more clinical and again defended Fernando Torres following an unconvincing 1-0 win at Sparta Prague yesterday.
With a stalemate looming and the visiting fans’ ire for Benitez and Torres increasing, Oscar came off the bench to score the winner eight minutes from time to give last season’s Champions League winners the advantage ahead of next week’s second leg of the last-32 tie at Stamford Bridge.
“Eighteen attempts away is not bad, but we have to be more clinical in attack,” Benitez said. “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.”
Many of the missed opportunities fell to Torres, who now has one only goal in 13 games and he missed a straightforward effort after 35 minutes when teed up by Juan Mata and sliced a second-half shot out for a throw-in in another impotent display at the Generali Arena in Prague.
Benitez, who managed Torres at Liverpool, refused to criticise his compatriot, even though the World Cup winner did not make an effort to meet two early crosses from Eden Hazard and looked disinterested at times.
“We have to create more opportunities and the strikers will score more goals,” Benitez said. “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.”