Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rafa Quick to Spot Ways of Improving

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rafa Quick to Spot Ways of Improving

Article excerpt

RAFAEL Benitez claimed it took him just one training session to see where Chelsea could improve.

The Spaniard was given just days to pick the European champions up from Tuesday's fateful defeat at Juventus ahead of tomorrow's top-of-the-table Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City.

But the former Liverpool boss, appointed interim Blues manager on Wednesday, declared he had already spotted flaws.

And the 52-year-old had no qualms discussing them with his new players, whose confidence has been dented by a run of only two wins in eight matches that saw them slip from first to third in the league and to the brink of crashing out of the Champions League.

Benitez said: "We didn't talk about the Champions League or the next game but about little things I saw and we could improve a bit."

He must win over a squad who appeared fully behind Di Matteo, the man who inspired them to Champions League and FA Cup glory in the wake of the Andre Villas-Boas regime before being unceremoniously sacked on Wednesday morning.

Chelsea started the season like champions-elect but injuries, suspensions, a lack of tactical flexibility and off-field scandals have cast doubt on the overall strength of the squad.

Benitez said: "It's a good squad, a good team. I think we can win with them. If we can improve by training hard, we will."

Benitez revealed he would look to Chelsea's big-name players to help him get their season back on track.

"In a top side, normally, there will be some important players, some who have more influence," he said.

"I spoke with Petr Cech, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Fernando Torres."

Chelsea appear in particular need of a striker, even if Benitez succeeds where three other Chelsea managers have failed by helping PS50m flop Torres rediscover the form he showed under his fellow Spaniard at Liverpool. …

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