Rafa Benitez: the last glimmer of hope for Torres?
Like all Chelsea fans, I was stunned to hear that RDM had been sacked yesterday morning. To make matters worse to hear that Rafa Benitez was then earmarked as favourite to take over hardly put any of us in a better mood. Then finally, twelve hours after Di Matteo had cleared his desk we had confirmation that Roman Abramovich had put his trust in the Spaniard as “Interim Manager” until the end of the season. It was a dark day for Chelsea fans all over the world.
Question will be asked and will remain over the fact that Roman Abramovich has brought someone to manage our football club who has stated on record in the past:
“We don’t need to give away stupid plastic flags to our fans to wave. Chelsea fans lack passion.” Rafa Benitez 2007.
“Chelsea is a big club but I would never take that job, in respect for my former team at Liverpool, no matter what.” Rafa Benitez 2007.
So what’s changed? Nothing as far as the Chelsea fans are concerned and without question the reaction to his “appointment” has been hostile to say the least.
Why is it that Roman has chosen Rafa Benitez to come to rescue the team and our season, compared to other managers out there who are available?
As we all know, Harry Redknapp is out of work and for some could have been an option. Pep Guardiola who is believed to have been Roman’s number one target for quite some time is on sabbatical but in saying that, who’s to say that a mega money deal that he would find hard to resist couldn’t be put on the table to encourage Guardiola to cut short his time away from the game?
I have said it before and will say it again, football is as much about man managing your players in addition to being tactically aware and this is an argument that Carlo Ancelotti, AVB and now Roberto Di Matteo have all failed in man managing Roman Abramovich’s prime investment – Fernando Torres.
I will state right here, right now on record, that Rafa Benitez has been employed by Roman to get the best out of him but I for one, do not blame Torres at all.
I saw a Tweet from one of the main Chelsea sites stating:
This isn’t Fernando Torres FC!
…and they have a point but has it really come to this with Torres or are we reading into the whole situation with our striker too much?
Forgetting Torres for a moment, Benitez has the right credentials to take a team forward and to be successful and I don’t think deep down that any Chelsea fan will deny his record and what he has achieved in the past. If he comes in here, tightens up our back four and defensive shape but continues with the attacking threat we have all seen that we have, it can only be a good thing.
So what of the possibility of Fernando Torres working with Benitez once again? Surely it can only be of benefit to Chelsea? You would have to imagine it would be and although he is used to it ever since he signed for Chelsea, Fernando Torres is now under more pressure than ever before to deliver.
I stick by the same argument I have had on here for ages about Torres and that is the fact he is world-class. Yes, he hasn’t set the world alight in a Chelsea shirt but has shown glimpses of doing so this season playing as our main man up top.
The problem is, and whether he had been asked to play that way in our new formation by RDM, Torres was caught out of position and got sucked into areas we simply do not need him to be in.
Dropping deep or playing wide is not the area we need to see Fernando Torres deployed as part of the framework of our side. Through the middle, playing just the width of the penalty box is where we need Torres to be just like he was at Liverpool and if Rafa can get that out of him again, to stop the encouragement to link up play in areas wide or deep, we could have one hell of a striker on our hands finally.
There will always be un-answered questions about Torres and why is it that he couldn’t thrive under the three managers he has played under at Chelsea before this latest twist yesterday?
The fallout with AVB, arguing with RDM about taking a penalty in the shootout in Munich and speaking openly about coming through difficult times is something we have had to get used to with Torres. The fact that he was left on the bench against Juventus as RDM decided to play with a side without a recognised striker spoke volumes.
He strikes me as being someone that despite his immense talent and natural ability, he still needs to feel loved by the manager and have that arm around the shoulder to encourage him. Benitez has proven before that he is that man.
The simple fact remains that this appointment will go either one way or the other and I would love to travel six months into the future to see how our season plays out under Benitez.
Being a Chelsea fan since Roman took over, you have had to expect and accept the unexpected as far as the situation with the manager is concerned. To this day, I have never felt as down and deflated about a manager leaving as when it was announced that Jose Mourinho had left Chelsea. It felt that a part of me had died along with a part of our football club.
If anything, yesterday’s sacking of Di Matteo left me feeling more shocked and surprised than anything but I will be honest, the appointment of Benitez has left me feeling deflated and concerned again. Of course, nowhere near the extent of Mourinho but because of the fact it’s Rafa.
For me, it’s about my football club and the team that is the most important thing here, not the players or the manager because over time, people come and go. I am having to tell myself that exact statement over and over again right now because it’s easy for you and me to go over the top about this latest appointment.
Forgetting who the person is, I just want to see my team back winning games first and foremost and looking like a team who are organised defensively. I don’t want to see our players arguing with each other on the pitch, blaming each other as goals go flying in from all angles.
If the manager can come in, sort out those problems, pull everyone together and start to win games again keeping us in touch with the likes of City and United over the Christmas period in the league, that would be a start no matter who he is.
If you can add goals from a confident Fernando Torres to that equation then that’s even better.
For now with all the hype that is to come in the next few days, be prepared for the press and media to go into overdrive about the manager and about Torres. There will be all sorts of crap being written.
As far as I am concerned after three previous managers have failed, Rafa Benitez is Roman Abramovich’s final throw of the dice to get Fernando Torres (Roman’s prize investment) firing again.
Bearing in mind the hostility and ill feeling from the fans towards Benitez, this is the biggest gamble Roman Abramovich has ever taken.
Carefree & KTBFFH!