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Benitez: Torres will win over fans
Interim boss Rafael Benitez predicts Chelsea's fans will fall back in love with Fernando Torres again.
Torres was hailed as the club's saviour when he arrived at Stamford Bridge two years ago for a whopping £50million fee, but he has struggled to live up to expectations. Part of the reason behind Benitez's appointment was to get the striker back to his best, but Torres still looks a shadow of the hitman who tore the best defences in Europe apart while at Liverpool.
Benitez told a press conference: "The fans loved Torres when he was scoring and giving everything. They will love him again when he starts scoring goals again. They will appreciate the effort."
Chelsea's fans had been patient with Torres up until Wednesday night, when he was sarcastically applauded off after 81 minutes following a poor display in which he touched the ball just 19 times and barely threatened the Swansea goal.
Chelsea's supporters had called for the introduction of new signing Demba Ba, who scored twice on debut at Southampton last Saturday, for almost the entire second half on Wednesday, but he did not come on until nine minutes were left.
Benitez revealed he had delayed bringing Ba on as he was struggling with a hamstring injury. The Spaniard also confirmed Torres had been struggling with a stomach bug prior to kick-off, which explains his poor showing against the Swans.
"He (Torres) had a bug, a virus and needed tablets from the club doctor," Benitez said. "The other day he was sick on the bench (at Southampton). That was why he didn't play.
"He is feeling better now but he had the problem for a week or more. He was trying (against Swansea).
"He was there and making an effort just in case. Fernando concentrated on trying to do his job (despite his illness) and that is the sign of a great character."
Given Benitez's history with Liverpool, the 52-year-old was never going to get an easy ride from the Blues fans. Yet the level of jeering towards Benitez, and the club's hierarchy for refusing to offer Frank Lampard a new deal, remains strong seven weeks into his reign.