Torres feeling confident - Rafa

  • Last Updated: December 24 2012, 10:48 GMT

Fernando Torres is playing with confidence and that is why he is back in the scoring groove, according to Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez.

Fernando Torres: Enjoying his football again
Fernando Torres: Enjoying his football again

The much-maligned Spanish striker scored the first of his side's eight goals without reply against Aston Villa on Sunday, heading in a cross from just inside the box.

It was a goal that few would have said the 28-year-old was capable of scoring a month ago as he continued to fail to justify his £50million transfer fee.

As owner Roman Abramovich hoped, though, the arrival of Benitez, the man who brought Torres to England, has sparked a revival in the former Liverpool and Atletico Madrid hitman, who has now scored seven goals in his last six games to double his tally for the season.

"He's a striker. He needed to score goals. The team is doing well, he's having more chances, and he has more confidence as a result," Benitez said.

Another to enjoy himself yesterday was veteran midfielder Frank Lampard.

Despite his hero status at Stamford Bridge, an extension to his rapidly-expiring contract has yet to materialise and he has been strongly linked with a move away.

He shrugged that off against Villa, however, marking his 500th Premier League start with a brilliant goal from distance that made him Chelsea's all-time record league goalscorer.

"He's an important player for us. He's training well, doing well, his commitment is there. I'm really pleased for him scoring another goal, so everything is positive," Benitez said.

"We still have a long season to play, but he's doing well. The squad that we have is a good squad and we have to keep the balance. We have lost Oriol (Romeu), so we have managed with David Luiz in the middle, but we are managing the squad as best we can. If we can, it'll be easier."

It was a bad day at the office for Villa, just a week after their memorable 3-1 win at Liverpool.

And it could have been even worse for the visitors with Chelsea also missing a penalty through Lucas Piazon and being denied further goals by a string of superb saves from Villa keeper Brad Guzan.

Villa manager Paul Lambert said: "I'm not going to sit here and make excuses, we were well beaten, second best all over the pitch.

"We'll have to pick ourselves up and go again on Wednesday, hurt as we are. Nothing really surprises me in football. I've been in it long enough to know you have to be bang at it every single game, but we were well below our standard of late."


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