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Rafa Benitez claims Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has accepted the club cannot play like Barcelona and that Fernando Torres may never recapture the scintillating form he showed with Liverpool.

The new manager spoke to Abramovich on Monday as they watched the club’s Under 21 team with captain John Terry and director of football Michael Emenalo.

Despite his eternal silence, the Russian’s longing for flair football and big-name players has been clear, ever since he fired Jose Mourinho five years ago.

Roberto Di Matteo was the  latest to fall victim to Abramovich’s insatiable demands, and Benitez became his ninth manager in nine years.

The interim boss started with a goalless draw against Manchester City, when he was booed by  his own fans because of his  Liverpool past, but insisted he had been encouraged by a first clean sheet since September.

Abramovich, however, cares  little for a watertight defence.

‘I’ve spent some time with Roman and we were not talking about the Barcelona style,’ said Benitez. ‘Roman says he wants to see the team playing well but not with the Barcelona style.

‘He knows we don’t have Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and players who have been working together for years.

‘We can play attacking and defensive football together. We have to find the balance. We have players with talent in attack.

‘We have to link with them and give them the freedom to  perform, but they have to be organised as well.’

Central to this is the threat of Torres, the most feared striker in world football under Benitez at Liverpool, but a shadow of that since his £50million move to Chelsea. Now, he appears  sluggish, unhappy and without a league goal in over six weeks.

Benitez will continue to play him — he has little choice with Daniel Sturridge still injured — but plans to restore his self-belief, and boost his strength and fitness while educating the rest of the team how to play for him.

There is a theory that moving Oscar deeper into midfield and utilising the vision of the young Brazilian may help Torres.

‘He’s not exactly the same player now, because he was at maximum level,’ said Benitez.

‘But I think he can come back. How close? I don’t know.

‘I’m sure he can improve, but the team have to help him.  Fernando had real pace. It’s not because he’s older or injuries. He has to train in a way that suits him. We will try to find this way. Fernando needs some exercise that we will try to do for him but we will do the same for Oscar, for Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole.

‘The movement he has to do will take some time. We have worked with him and Oscar to try and find this understanding. We know we have to change the movements. The first thing is to give him some confidence, in instructions as to how he can do things in a different way. Improve him a little bit physically.’

It suggests Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish, Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas and Di  Matteo, those who managed Torres after Benitez, have neglected his needs.

Benitez’s ability to tap back into that talent — more than his popularity among fans — may decide whether or not his reign at Stamford Bridge extends beyond the end of the season.

Source: DailyMail 

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