Rafael Benitez has revealed scoring goals has put the smile back on Fernando Torres' face ahead of Chelsea's Club World Cup campaign.
Torres finally emerged from his latest wretched run of form last week when he netted four times in Benitez's first two wins in charge against Nordsjaelland and Sunderland. The £50million man is hitting his stride at just the right time for Chelsea's bid to make amends for their failed defence of the Champions League by being crowned champions of the world.
"I have to speak to him in Spanish so he can tell me any jokes he has," interim manager Benitez said. "When a striker is scoring, he is happy, happy. I've noticed the difference in him too."
He added: "To be fair, the team is doing really well. I'm not surprised because they are all training very well. You don't have anyone who is lazy. Everyone is trying to do the right things."
Aside from a fluke goal against Shakhtar Donetsk, Torres went two months without finding the net before last week, and Benitez added: "Everybody has been talking for months about, 'Fernando has to score more goals' so to score four in a week, he must be pleased. That's everyone, but especially the striker."
Torres and his team-mates were still adjusting physically and mentally to the nine-hour time difference following their arrival in Japan on Sunday, with the Club World Cup well under way.
Chelsea were last month snubbed in their bid to postpone Saturday's Barclays Premier League match at Sunderland, something that would have allowed them to set up base in Yokohama before the weekend.
The decision infuriated then manager Roberto Di Matteo, who accused the Premier League of hurting their chances of Club World Cup glory and putting his players' health at risk. Benitez agreed with his predecessor that more should be done to give English clubs the best possible chance of success.
"When you have massive competitions, you have to give teams an advantage," Benitez said, pointing out other leagues did just that. "When Barcelona were here, they were able to get out before we could.
"You always have to be treated in a way that shows you are representing your country. That is important for everyone."
- Sports & Recreation
- Rafael Benitez
- Fernando Torres