Rafa Benitez refused to criticise Fernando Torres after another uninspired performance saw him booed off by the Stamford Bridge crowd during Chelsea’s shock 2-0 defeat to Swansea in the Capital One Cup.
The £50 million man was withdrawn in favour of Demba Ba on 81 minutes to a less than complimentary reception from the stands as his side trailed to a clinical Michu finish on the stroke of half-time.
It was the first sign that Blues fans have run out of patience with Torres, but Benitez insists his countryman should not be singled out for the defeat, and is adamant he is pleased with his side’s performance.
When it was put to him that Ba accomplished more in nine minutes than the man he replaced had mustered in 81, the Chelsea boss countered: “I think we had chances at the end, but as a team we were creating chances from the first minute. It’s not just one player or the striker.
“You have Mata, Ramires, David Luiz – 23 attempts, so if you are playing against a team who is deep and you still have a lot of attempts. I’m happy with the way the team was working. I don’t think we can talk about one player.
“We had a lot of chances, and could have scored two or three in the first half, one or two in the second half. We made two mistakes and paid for them. This is the reality.
“The team was attacking, playing possession and controlling against a good team who were defending.”
The atmosphere of anger around Stamford Bridge turned positively poisonous as Danny Graham added a second for the visitors late on, but Benitez insists his team were not distracted by events off the pitch.
“You analyse all these things because we lost, but the way we played, the control we had, the chances we created, is what we have to do,” he added.
“We have to be more clinical in front of goal, but we were doing a lot of things really well.”
The Spaniard also defended Branislav Ivanovic, whose two horrendous errors directly led to both goals, and praised the Serb’s courage.
“Any player making mistakes is not a big issue,” he continued. “The main thing is they try to do things after, and Ivanovic was trying to do his best, and the team was creating chances.
“It’s something that can happen in football, and the main thing is to keep going for the next game.”
Swansea’s victory – their first at Stamford Bridge since 1925 – leaves Chelsea’s Capital One Cup hopes all but shattered, but Benitez remains adamant one goal at the Liberty Stadium could reverse his side’s fortunes.
“They have a great advantage, but we have to go there and score a goal, and then we will be in the game,” he concluded.