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Benitez backs Torres-Ba partnership

Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez believes new signing Demba Ba could play alongside Fernando Torres.

The Senegal international netted twice in the 5-1 FA Cup third round win at Southampton, as his 50 million pounds team-mate watched on from the bench.

But Benitez boss cited Ba’s former partnership with Papiss Cisse at Newcastle as evidence of his ability to work as part of a front two.

The 52-year-old told reporters: “It’s always important for a striker to score goals but more than just the goals is the contribution for team and the movement and his understanding of what we wanted to do was really good. He was very clever.

“I prefer this problem than (having) to be careful just with one (striker). It’s important for the team to have these different options. (They’re) good players and they can compete, or maybe we can manage them together.

“They could play together. Ba was playing with Cisse last month. They can play because he is a clever player, but it depends on the players around them.”

Frank Lampard came off the bench to win, and convert, a late penalty to become the club’s joint-second in the west London club’s all-time scoring chart, leaving him ten behind Bobby Tambling.

The midfielder has just six months left to run on his current deal, with speculation pointing towards a summer exit from Stamford Bridge, and Benitez remained coy on the vice-captain’s future.

Benitez added: “Frank is a good professional. He is under contract and doing well. The main thing for me is that you have to bring the best from him.”

Saints boss Nigel Adkins, meanwhile, admitted that his side were outplayed by the visitors after the break, but he bemoaned the nature of Chelsea’s equaliser just before the half-time break.

“I thought we started very brightly and got a good goal from Jay Rodriguez,” he said.

“The big killer blow for us comes just on half-time with the goal they score. It’s fair to say in the second-half Chelsea demonstrated the good players they’ve got. I thought they were very good.”

Sat 5 Jan, 2013
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