Two-goal Fernando Torres will undoubtedly steal the headlines following our 3-1 win at Sunderland, but Rafael Benitez, while acknowledging the quality of the striker’s performance, was eager to praise his side as a whole…
On the performance
‘The team have been training really well, you cannot train too hard before or after a game, so it’s been mainly light training sessions and just tweaking a few things,’ explained Benitez.
‘We had more confidence, the players knew what they had to do, and Fernando was one of those players.
‘Little by little we are adjusting things, but if we have more confidence, with the quality we have we will win games.
‘Today the team played well, especially in the first half. We had to change the shape after Oriol [Romeu] went off, Sunderland were pushing and pushing, but we showed the quality and character we have.’
‘I said before that if the team play well and create chances he will score goals. It’s fair to say that we are watching a Torres with more confidence and belief. I was analysing his movements and adjusting a few things. It’s a question of confidence and differences in movements. The most important thing is that he appears confident.’
On our first league win since he took charge
‘It’s always important to win. We need to show what we’d been doing in training on the pitch, and if we do, the confidence of the team will be fantastic. To win in the manner we have in the last two games, with a lot of security, is fantastic.
‘I wasn’t thinking about the competition, I was pleased the other day with the 6-1 win and the way that we played until the end. Today we showed the team has a clear idea what they want to do, and I felt they did really well.’
On finding the right balance between defence and attack
‘We know we have dynamic players up front, but we need to also be strong and keep the balance in defence.
‘We need to be compact and work as a unit, we are playing high and creating chances, so that’s a positive thing about the future. The defenders need to keep doing a good job and the offensive players will create chances and score goals.’
It’s important to have an opportunity to win any trophy, especially this one. It was a great experience for me and I hope it will be for my players.
On Romeu’s injury
‘He has gone to London and we are waiting to hear from the doctor. When the player leaves the pitch limping and we are flying to Japan straight away, it makes things difficult. As it stands, he won’t be flying with us.’
On the FIFA World Club Cup
‘It’s important to have an opportunity to win any trophy, but especially this one. It was a great experience for me and I hope it will be for my players. I got to the final in 2005 and won the tournament in 2010.’