Benitez set to drop Chelsea star for Fulham match

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Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez could be ready to drop John Obi Mikel in a bid to get Fernando Torres firing for the Blues, according to the Daily Mail.

The Nigerian international could be the man to make way as Benitez looks to inject more creativity into the Chelsea squad.

The report suggests the former-Liverpool boss is looking to produce more opportunities for the club's £50m striker, and Mikel could pay the price for a sluggish start to the season.

The midfielder sits in a holding position alongside Ramires, but Benitez may feel two sitting midfielders is overly cautious, at least at home to Fulham on Wednesday.

Mikel was absent from match preparations for Chelsea's match against the Cottagers, and the report claims Oriol Romeu is in line to replace him in the starting lineup.

Benitez said: "I understand the feelings of the fans because of my time at Liverpool, where we had rivalry and it was quite difficult.

"But at the same time I will try to prove I'm here for the right reasons. We want to win, and we can do that together.

"I'll try and improve players and it'll be easier to win games and bring the fans back."

Benitez opted to retain the same formation as previous Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo for his first match against Manchester City, and the Blues secured a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Many feel the Spaniard has been brought in by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to bring the best out of Fernando Torres, who worked with Benitez at Anfield.

But Benitez admitted he's unsure if the Spain international will ever return to the heights of his days at Liverpool.

"He's not exactly the same player now, because he was at maximum level at this time [at Liverpool]. But I think he can come back. How close? I don't know. It depends on the rest of the team. I'm sure he can improve, but the team has to help him."

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