Benitez backs Torres to fire
Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini has hinted that he would
like to follow David Moyes to Manchester United.
The Belgian international has long been linked with a move away
from Goodison Park, and after a deal in January failed to
materialise, he again looks set for a summer of speculation about
Chelsea and Arsenal had been linked, but now he has one eye on
Old Trafford due to the fact Moyes is taking charge.
“If I’m leaving Everton, I say if, it will depend on lots of
factors,” Fellaini told the Sunday Mirror.
“I only want to go to a club where the manager really wants
“In 2008, Everton did everything to convince me, especially
David Moyes. He made me the player I am now.”
Fellaini also revealed that Moyes had told him that he wanted
him to become a deep-lying midfielder – rather than the forward he
has emerged as in recent years.
“I’m happy with my season, although I didn’t play in my best
position,” said Fellaini.
“I’m not a number 10. David Moyes predicts my future as a
defensive midfielder, but due to a lack of offensive power, he
plays me up front.
“In the future I want to play as a six or an eight. From there,
I can create danger and score goals.”
Torres has endured a challenging two-and-a-half year spell at
Stamford Bridge since his ?50million move from Liverpool in January
It was his performances at Liverpool, under Benitez, which
persuaded Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to part with the sum which
has at times appeared to be a burden for the World Cup-winning
Torres is still to score a Barclays Premier League goal in 2013
ahead of Sunday’s match with Everton – a game which will determine
whether Chelsea finish third or fourth – but netted six goals in
six Europa League appearances, including in the final as the Blues
beat Benfica in the Amsterdam final on Wednesday.
“It’s more than just me,” said Benitez, when asked about Torres’
improvement, before he cited assistant coaches Steve Holland,
Boudewijn Zenden and fitness coaches Paco de Miguel and Chris Jones
for their efforts.
“They have improved him. He has more pace, more confidence and
he can score important goals for us. He has to keep working in the
same way and I think that with a pre-season he will have plenty of
team to improve himself physically.
“It’s a question of keeping training the same way that he’s
training now and with confidence, he has the potential.”
Torres, who last found the net in the Premier League against
Aston Villa in December, has cut a forlorn figure at times,
ploughing a lone furrow up front.
Benitez added: “When you see a striker that is not scoring as
many goals as he wants to score, this can happen. Now he’s enjoying
On his arrival, Benitez felt Chelsea could mount a Premier
League title challenge, but a congested season – Sunday’s match
will be the Blues’ 69th of the campaign – has played its part in
ensuring that ambition was never close to being fulfilled.
To take on Manchester United, Benitez felt Chelsea needed to
sign players in January and augment a squad which is packed with
quality, but short of numbers in a transitional period, following
the departures of the likes of Didier Drogba.
Benitez refused to criticise the board for not weighing into the
transfer market, with striker Demba Ba the one major January
addition, but he has fulfilled his brief by delivering a Champions
“Always [it] can be better,” Benitez said.
“We cannot change what happened and we have to think of the
future as a positive. The club had an idea. We have been successful
in one of the big competitions and we are virtually qualified for
the Champions League. So in the end it was fine.”
With champions Manchester United and Manchester City under new
management next season, as well as Chelsea, Benitez will be
intrigued by what happens.
“It will be interesting to see what happens next year with the
top three,” he said.
“[Chelsea are] a team with quality and more experience now. I
think it will be better next year.”
With David Moyes joining Manchester United as successor to Sir
Alex Ferguson, Everton are seeking a new boss, but Benitez cannot
envisage a future at Goodison Park, even though his family home
remains on The Wirral.
Asked specifically about Everton, Benitez, whose preference is
to stay in England, said: “I don’t think it would be easy for them
to approach me and it would not be easy for me to go there.
“I have to be consistent with my ideas. I have a lot of respect
for Everton, but it would be very difficult.”
Benitez is leaving his future in his agent’s hands and is
awaiting an official approach.
But he expects to be in a management role come the start of next
He said: “I don’t see too many top sides in England available at
the moment. Still there are opportunities around the world.
“I think it’s important to find the right club. You have to
wait, not be impatient and see what happens.
“I have an agent who has to do his job. I cannot be too worried
about that, because we’re involved in massive competitions and we
have to do concentrate on our job and he [his agent] has to do his