/ Soccer

Rafael Benitez believes Chelsea are slowly improving under his guidance

Updated: Thursday, 06 Dec 2012 20:44 | Comments

Gary Cahill rises highest to score for Chelsea
Gary Cahill rises highest to score for Chelsea

Video

Audio

Interim manager Rafael Benitez hopes Fernando Torres and Chelsea have turned the corner after last night's impressive Champions League performance against Nordsjaelland.

The Blues collected their first win since Benitez's appointment in style, with Torres netting twice in a comprehensive 6-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Despite the impressive display, the result proved futile as Juventus' win at Shakhtar Donetsk saw Chelsea become the first Champions League holders to exit at the group stage.

Their embarrassing display overall in Europe compounds the poor domestic form that has seen them go seven league games without a win, although Benitez believes last night's win can kick-start their campaign.

"I'm sure that, playing at this level, we can do whatever we want, but we have to start that in the next game," he said, looking ahead to the trip to Sunderland.

"My idea is one game at a time, but if you remember the four games we've already played there was only 45 minutes we did not play at the right level.

"Manchester City was a difficult game but we performed more or less against one of, if not the, best teams in the Premier League.

"Against Fulham we could have won and had a lot of chances, too. The first half against West Ham was good so everything I am seeing from the players is good, is positive.

"They are progressing, they are improving and they are adjusting to my ideas - the little things we are trying to change - so I think I have to be pleased."

"The Europa League is not important if you don't win" - Rafael Benitez

As well as the overall team performance, which included goals from David Luiz - who opened the scoring from the spot - Gary Cahill, Juan Mata and Oscar, Benitez was buoyed by Torres' showing.

The £50million striker has failed to capture the form that propelled him to fame since arriving at Stamford Bridge, but there were glimpses of the past yesterday.

"I hope [it is a springboard for him]," Benitez said. "He's shown his desire and quality at the same time.

"If we can play at this level, then I think he can score more goals."

His goals, though, were not enough to prevent Chelsea dropping into the Europa League - a competition many see as an unwanted distraction.

"The Europa League is not important if you don't win," Benitez said. "When you are in the semi-final or the final, everyone wants to win it.

"We know that it is an important competition and we want to go as far as we can and if we can win the competition, we will try to do that."

While Chelsea were left to reflect on what could - and should - have been, Nordsjaelland saw their first dalliance with the Champions League come to a disappointing end.

The Danish champions, whose goal last night came from Joshua John, took just one point from the 18 available and conceded 22 goals, equalling the group-stage record set by Dinamo Zagreb last season.

"We have now seen what it takes and we'll use that experience," manager Kasper Hjulmand said.

"We'll do everything we can to get back here. Now we have a goal to look at every day."

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use
Powered by NewsWhip