LONDON (Reuters) - Fernando Torres is Chelsea’s most-used outfield player this season and interim manager Rafael Benitez said on Wednesday he wanted to start rotating the Spain striker more in the second half of the campaign.
Attacking options have been limited for the European champions following the exit of Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou in the close season and the decision to allow Romelu Lukaku to join Premier League rivals West Bromwich Albion on loan.
England forward Daniel Sturridge, who seems poised to join Liverpool in a big-money move in the January transfer window, has also had an injury-interrupted season with the Stamford Bridge club.
”We are trying to manage the team so as soon as I can change Fernando I have to do it,“ Benitez told the club’s website (www.chelseafc.com). ”He is the centre forward but we will try to manage him and do things properly.
“He wants the team winning games so he will understand that is the way and he will accept this. All the players want to play every game but I think they understand now that if we want to achieve something important we have to use the squad.”
Torres, who has scored 14 goals in all competitions this season, will look for a repeat of his hat-trick heroics at home to Queens Park Rangers last season when Chelsea meet their west London neighbours later on Wednesday (1945 GMT).
Chelsea had a congested fixture list in December and their schedule is just as busy this month, leaving Benitez with little choice but to continue his squad rotation policy.
Victory against bottom of the table Rangers would take the European champions back up to third in the Premier League.
Writing by Tony Jimenez; editing by Amlan Chakraborty