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Benitez: Confidence rising for Torres

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez believes Fernando Torres is gaining confidence after the striker’s double against Sunderland on Saturday.

The Spanish forward has struggled to find his best form since moving to Stamford Bridge but has recently found form in the Champions League versus Nordsjaelland and now against Sunderland.

The Spaniard opened the scoring at the Stadium of Light on Saturday with a fine finish on the counterattack before stepping up for a penalty just before half-time.

“The team played well and created chances for Torres to score goals, especially in the first half,” Benitez told reporters after his side defeated Sunderland 3-1.

“We showed the character and the quality we have, that we can create chances and Fernando can score goals.

“We are winning, the team is training really well. You can see with more confidence the things they can do.

“Fernando is one of these players; he knows what I want from him and the rest of the team know each other really well so, when we do things well, we get more confidence and, when we have that, with the quality we have, we will win more games.

“For me the positive is he had the confidence [to take the penalty]. We have three penalty takers and it depends on the moment – the players decide.

“It’s fair to say we are watching a Fernando with more confidence; he has more belief and, in the same time, the team as well. I felt it was a question of confidence and a little change in his movement. I would like to see him scoring goals every game.”

Despite taking an early lead, the away support once again sang for the recently sacked Roberto Di Matteo in the 16th minute.

“I think the fans know I will keep working hard,” Benitez remarked of the Blues fans.

“Today I am really pleased because, when you play so far away and there are a lot of fans here, it is important to win so they can go back and enjoy it.”

Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill knows his side have a fight on their hands after slipping into the relegation zone for the first time this season.

O’Neill feels Sunderland have enough to escape their current predicament but has rued continued crucial mistakes at key moments, with Sebastian Larsson giving away a penalty just before half-time against Chelsea.

He told reporters: “It’s a tough fight, a real tough fight. When we got some fantastic results last season and it seemed by mid-February we had calmly taken ourselves out of relegation problems. I never saw it like that I thought every game is a fight for us. When we have a foothold in games we need to make to count.”

“It’s heavy punishment I’ve only seen the penalty briefly back but I said to Seb [Larsson] that if you go to ground you run the risk. The best they were going to get out of that situation was a corner then we’re going in 2-0 down. But we’ll fight our way out of it. More importantly I believe we have enough self-belief.

“It goes without saying the goals either side of half-time were major set-backs to us. We played very strongly, the players put a very big effort in which was appreciated by the crowd.

“Even though we were defeated it feels as though we got something out of the game.”

Sat 8 December, 2012
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