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London – Discipline. Roman Abramovich’s vision for Chelsea may be for them to sweep all-comers aside with a Latin swagger but without steel, the dream will never come true.
This is why Rafa Benitez could yet be the perfect fit for Abramovich. Nothing matters more to the Spaniard than discipline. He demands focus and intense concentration, to always be thinking about the next step. It is why you will never see him cavorting on the touchline celebrating goals.
“I think the manager is eternally dissatisfied because he wants more and more and more,” Benitez once said.
“I’m this kind of manager. I like to improve, to do better every time. Sometimes you know that you will need more time so you have to be calm but still you have to improve.”
Fernando Torres knows this better than anyone. After scoring a hat-trick for Liverpool, he returned to the dressing room only to have Benitez point out the areas of his game which had been lacking.
There was nothing malicious, it was just typical Benitez, always wanting more. Such traits will undoubtedly have struck a chord with Abramovich and it is the reason he has turned to him to re-ignite Chelsea’s season.
Chelsea have artists such as Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar, but it is the team’s defence that ultimately cost Roberto Di Matteo his job – no clean sheets since the start of October – and this is the area Benitez will prioritise.
During the four-year peak of his reign at Liverpool, between 2006-2009, they never conceded more than 28 goals in the Barclays Premier League. If Benitez finds the right balance at the back – it would be no surprise if he tries to sign Martin Skrtel in January – he could, perhaps, deliver the title.
But can he restore Torres to former glories? Benitez has a better chance than anyone but it is worth remembering that Torres also thrived on his rapport with Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso. He has not had that camaraderie with anyone at Stamford Bridge. – Daily Mail