LONDON — Rafael Benitez needs no reminder, but the statistics are mounting up to confirm the scale of the task confronting the interim manager as he attempts to revive Chelsea’s season.
Report by Reuters
Successive scoreless draws mean Benitez has joined Avram Grant as the only other “Blues” manager to fail to win either of his first two Premier League games in the Roman Abramovich era.
Those results extended a run that has seen Chelsea fail to win any of their last six league games, leaving them in third position in the league table, seven points behind leaders Manchester United.
And while the figures sum up the state of a team in a rut, Fernando Torres’s Premier League goal-drought, that now runs to almost 11 hours, highlights a player enduring another individual nightmare.
Little wonder, then, that Chelsea’s trip across London to face West Ham at Upton Park today will carry much more significance than is normally attached to the fixture.
“We have to keep going forward, look at the positive things and win the games and fight, fight, in each game,” said Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu, who completed his first 90 minutes of the season in the midweek draw with Fulham.
“When we get the confidence, the goals will go in. I’m sure about that. We had two clean sheets after a long time without that happening. So, that’s a positive thing and the only thing is that, if we score, we can win.
“We are defending well and now we have to think of attack and scoring more goals, for sure.”
Having inherited a team that had not kept a clean sheet in 10 games, Benitez identified the defence as his first priority and Romeu echoed his manager’s belief that will lay the platform for a more attacking approach.
“Once you are solid at the back the quality in attack has to come through,” Romeu explained. “It hasn’t happened for the last two games, but I’m sure with the players we have the goals will start to come again.
“This part of our game has to improve, but you also know that if you are not conceding any goals, you only have to score one to get the three points, and that’s the most important thing.”