Football

Benitez defends wasteful Torres after Chelsea win

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Rafael Benitez admitted his Chelsea charges need to be more clinical if they are to win the Europa League following their narrow victory over Sparta Prague, but refused to single out Fernando Torres for his profligacy in front of goal.

Chelsea managed to carve out 14 attempts on the Sparta goal in the Czech Republic on Thursday night but converted just one of them, with Oscar sliding home a potentially decisive away goal in the last 32 first leg.

Oscar came off the bench with only nine minutes remaining to provide Chelsea with the advantage in the tie just when it looked as though their wastefulness would leave honours even going into the return leg at Stamford Bridge.

Torres, who is enduring a run of just one goal in 13 matches, was noticeably to blame for a number of Chelsea's missed opportunities, and even skewed horribly out for a throw-in during the second-half.

Benitez, though, was not worried about the performance of his most senior forward, and says Torres contributes to the Chelsea cause in more ways than one.

"His work rate today was really good and thanks to him the rest of the team, especially the second line of offensive players, they could create," said the interim Chelsea manager after the game.

"His job today was push and run and keep their defenders deep so he could create space for the other players.

"Everybody expects from a striker just to score goals, but he’s doing also a great job for the team."

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Topics:
Europa League
Football
Chelsea
Fernando Torres

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