Fernando Torres brimming with confidence under new manager Rafa Benitez

After finding the net on four occasions in his last 2 games, Goal.com takes a closer look on Torres' recent improvement under new manager Rafa Benitez...
When Didier Drogba left Chelsea FC at the start of the season, the pressure was on Fernando Torres to repay the 50 million pounds the club paid for his transfer back in 2011. At 28 years of age, many would expect Fernando Torres to be at his peak but that has not been the case for the Spaniard whose career has seen new lows ever since he joined the London club.

The massive transfer fee was a testimony for the player Fernando Torres had been, not what he is. During his time at Liverpool, Torres managed 81 goals in 142 games at a ratio of 0.57 goals per game while he is currently at 23 goals in 92 games at a ratio of 0.25 for Chelsea. A striker who once could not stop scoring, who not only became the fastest player to reach 50 goals for Liverpool but also scored the winning goal at EURO 2008 seems to have gone into hibernation.

Although Chelsea are trying to get him back to his old self with the big summer spending spree that saw a plethora of midfielders joining the club in order to get those through balls that Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso used to provide, Torres still hasn't looked his old self and maybe never will.

After the recent sacking of Roberto Di Matteo, Roman Abramovich appointed Rafael Benitez as the latest man charged with the responsibility of restoring Chelsea's season and in particular, Fernando Torres. Benitez was Abramovich's fourth manager ever since he bought Fernando Torres back in January 2011.

Benitez key to Torres's success?

Benitez was the man responsible for bringing Torres to England when he signed him from Atletico Madrid in 2007. When Benitez was handed over the job as Chelsea's "interim" boss, there was speculation that the Spanish striker was the reason behind his appointment. It was under Benitez that Torres scored 56 goals in 79 games but only managed 20 goals under 5 different managers since Benitez left Liverpool.

Games 79
Minutes per goal 107
Goals 56
Assists 10
Pass completion 65%
Chance conversion

Torres under Benitez 2007-10

Is this the turning point for Torres?

So how have things changed for Torres since Benitez's arrival.

Fernando Torres has netted 4 times in 5 games under Rafael Benitez and although he did not find the back of the net in the first 3 games, his recent revival has shown signs of things to come.

Benitez's impact on Torres has been both on the psychological and the tactical side. Torres who has failed to settle at Chelsea under the previous 3 managers surely feels a more involved under Rafa Benitez and that was evident after his recent display against FC Nordsjaelland and Sunderland.

Although his brace against FC Nordsjaelland meant nothing for Chelsea after they failed to qualify for the next round of the Champions League what it did show was signs of improvement from Fernando Torres.

During his time at Liverpool, Torres thrived upon the crosses from higher up the pitch rather than deep areas and his first goal against Sunderland was a clear evidence how things are being worked upon at Cobham training ground. Torres was involved in the first goal when he timed his run to perfection and poked home Eden Hazard's pin point cross.

It has been said before that the main reason for Torres' failure has been his low confidence but when he  stepped up to dispatch the penalty past Mignolet, there were signs of the old Fernando Torres returning. This was the same Torres who refused to take the penalty against Birmingham last season even though Juan Mata offered him and who was not selected by Roberto Di Matteo at Munich.

Under Roberto Di Matteo, Torres had 3 outstanding playmakers playing behind him - Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar constantly rotating their positions with Ramires playing in the central midfield in the absence of Frank Lampard. During Di Matteo's reign, almost every attack they tried went through the "D" something similar to the present Barcelona side. This was completely opposite to the way Torres is used to playing who scored his best goals running behind the defenders from a defense splitting pass. 

Fernando Torres Roberto Di Matteo Rafa Benitez
Games 20 5
Goals 7 4
Assists 1 1
Shots on Target 22 16
Minutes Played 1541 450
Chances created 21 4
Successful dribbles 32 7
Passes completed 272/391 68/92

What Rafa Benitez has changed though is the introduction of Victor Moses and Oriol Romeu in the starting XI over Oscar and the suspended John Obi Mikel. Benitez was quick to split the trio behind Torres by introducing Moses who provides more width compared to Oscar.

Oriol Romeu has been set up by Benitez to play the "Xabi Alonso" role at Chelsea replacing Mikel in the starting XI. What Mikel lacks is the ability to play the ball quickly something the Spaniard has shown in his short spell with Chelsea. Although it must be noted that Romeu is out for the season after a suffering an injury.

Although it may be too early to say Fernando Torres is back in form after a couple of games but what is encouraging is his recent development under new manager Rafa Benitez. Chelsea now fly to Japan hoping to add their third trophy in the current calendar year and if Torres can keep this momentum going, it is only upwards and onwards for Chelsea.

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