London, Feb 16: Yossi Benayoun has slammed Chelsea for 'badly handling' Fernando Torres and blamed the club for strikers downfall since the £50million move in 2011.
Torres has failed to make any impact since his record breaking British transfer move from Liverpool to Stamford Bridge in January 2011 and Benayoun feels the situation with Torres was badly managed by the club.
Torres followed Benayoun to Chelsea in a £50 million deal but has failed to reproduce the sensational form he did at Liverpool. However, Torres has scored 15 goal in all competitions this season but has struggled recently scoring only one in 13 games since Christmas.
"It is a hard time for Fernando, but in my opinion the situation with him was managed badly from the beginning," Mirror Football quoted Benayoun as saying. "You do not change so quickly from being one of the best in the world to a player that some people say is not good enough for Chelsea.
"When he was at Liverpool he was unbelievable. You gave him the ball and you knew he would score, but he had a bad time in the beginning at Chelsea. When he came in, he was on the bench, then on the pitch, so he did not get the confidence when he came in," Benayoun said.
The 32-year old Israeli also referred to the huge price tag and how difficult it was for Torres to break into the first team with Didier Drogba being the first choice striker.
"With the £50 million price-tag above his head, it is not easy for any player, especially when Didier Drogba was here as well and was his competition, he said.
However, Benayoun feels Torres is still "one of the best strikers in the world", and the club has given him full backing for the first time this season.
"This is the first year the club gave Fernando 100% confidence he needs to be number one, he said. "He was scoring a few in a row. Now he is in another bad spell, but he just needs to believe in himself, to keep doing the right movements.
"He has 15 or 16 goals already and that is not bad. Hopefully he will finish with 25. It would be good to get his confidence back and be his old self, the real Fernando Torres. Personally I believe in him 100 per cent," Benayoun said.
Benayoun himself has not had a great time at Stamford Bridge. The Iraeli suffered a lenghty spell on the sidelines with an achilles injury when he arrived in 2010. The playmaker was then loaned out to Arsenal, again failing to make any impact. This season, Benayoun began with a loan spell at West Ham United but he was injured and returned to Chelsea after the appointment of former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.