Tag Archives: midweek

Red Bull told Mark Webber to cut power "more than Sebastian Vettel"

Red Bull told Webber to cut power 'more than Vettel' in Malaysia

By
Malcolm Folley

PUBLISHED:

19:51 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:51 GMT, 30 March 2013

Red Bull have admitted that world
champion Sebastian Vettel was not told to cut his engine power to the
same level as Mark Webber at the end of last weekend's Malaysian Grand
Prix.

But the team insist they had not
favoured Vettel above his Australian team-mate or that they were happy
to see the German ignore orders and snatch victory from Webber.

In the aftermath of the furore over
Vettel's behaviour, it was claimed Webber, with the German running
behind him, had been told to turn down his engine setting to ensure he
did not experience a mechanical mishap.

Falling out: Mark Webber (left) and Sebastian Vettel on the podium in Malaysia

Falling out: Mark Webber (left) and Sebastian Vettel on the podium in Malaysia

It was presumed Vettel had received the same instruction on the orders of team principal Christian Horner.

But F1 rights holder Bernie Ecclestone told The Mail on Sunday last week: 'After speaking with Christian, it seems Mark was told to turn down the wick on his engine, but the team didn't tell Sebastian to do the same thing.'

And a Red Bull spokesperson admitted: 'Seb's engine was turned down, but not as much as Mark's due to differing strategies and tyre wear.'

Although Horner told Vettel to stay behind Webber, the German had more horsepower to overtake.

Different instructions: Bernie Ecclestone (inset) says Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were given different orders

Different instructions: Bernie Ecclestone (inset) says Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were given different orders

Webber maintained a low profile last week, with no desire to have any contact with Vettel before they meet for the next race in China in 10 days' time, while the German 25-year-old triple world champion was on a charm offensive at Red Bull's HQ in Milton Keynes in midweek to apologise to the workforce for creating worldwide uproar.

Webber's sense of betrayal, after helping to clinch the past three constructors' titles, means he is unlikely to stay with Red Bull when his contract ends this year.

His presence alongside Vettel in the first official media conference in Shanghai a week on Thursday will ensure Red Bull's internecine warfare is the only story in town.

Golden boy: Sebastian Vettel talks with Red Bull principal Christian Horner (right)

Golden boy: Sebastian Vettel talks with Red Bull principal Christian Horner (right)

'It can only be a distraction and energy-sapping,' said a team insider.

Yet, as Ecclestone revealed in this paper last week, Webber would have lost his seat to Lewis Hamilton this season had Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz not offered the Australian first refusal on keeping his drive out of loyalty when the 36-year-old had been talking with Ferrari.

'I wouldn't say that Mark was an out and out, 100 per cent Red Bull guy when he was looking to leave the team,' said Ecclestone. 'If he'd have got the drive with Ferrari, he'd have gone. He was lucky to stay, in my opinion.'

Indeed, Webber is not blameless. In the past, he has shown an unwillingness to toe the line, most recently in Brazil as Vettel clinched his third title.

'There's never been any trust between Webber and Vettel, they're not bosom buddies,' added Ecclestone.

Robin van Persie says Chelsea v Manchester United FA Cup tie won"t be a "great game" because of tiredness

It won't be a thriller! Van Persie believes fatigue could affect blockbuster FA Cup tie

By
Simon Stone, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

21:05 GMT, 30 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:05 GMT, 30 March 2013

Robin van Persie has warned fans not to expect an FA Cup classic between Manchester United and Chelsea on Monday.

With Chelsea still involved in the Europa League and UEFA frowning on fixtures between England's top clubs on Champions League designated days, the FA were left with little option other than to schedule the eagerly-anticipated quarter-final replay just two days after Premier League fixtures.

Even the potential for an evening kick-off was ruled out as Fulham are due to take on QPR in the Barclays Premier League at Craven Cottage.

Influence: Robin van Persie helped Manchester United to a 1-0 win at Sunderland

Influence: Robin van Persie helped Manchester United to a 1-0 win at Sunderland

Influence: Robin van Persie helped Manchester United to a 1-0 win at Sunderland

It means United will be in action 48 hours after today's win at Sunderland, with Chelsea having marginally less time to prepare following their defeat at Southampton.

It is the kind of scheduling that has England's European counterparts scratching their heads in bewilderment.

And Van Persie points out it is difficult for the players to reach a high level of performance twice in such a short period of time.

Dejection: Chelsea's top-four hopes suffered a blow on Saturday as they were beaten 2-1 by Southampton

Dejection: Chelsea's top-four hopes suffered a blow on Saturday as they were beaten 2-1 by Southampton

Sublime: Rickie Lambert's beautiful free-kick proved to be the winner at St Mary's

Sublime: Rickie Lambert's beautiful free-kick proved to be the winner at St Mary's

'It is not ideal,' he told MUTV.

'Normally on the second day your muscles are quite bad but now we have to play at this certain time.

'It is a shame but we can't do anything about it because there are Champions League games in midweek and Chelsea are still in the Europa League.

'We just have to deal with it.

'People have to realise they can't expect a great game of football because it is not possible.

'If it happens I am glad, but don't expect it because these games are just too close to each other.'

Back from the brink: Chelsea came from 2-0 behind in the original tie at Old Trafford to force a replay

Back from the brink: Chelsea came from 2-0 behind in the original tie at Old Trafford to force a replay

Van Persie was speaking after United's 1-0 win at Sunderland, which maintains their 15-point advantage over Manchester City with just eight games remaining.

City will be the opponents for Monday's victors at Stamford Bridge, with Van Persie eager to get his hands on a trophy he won with Arsenal but United have not lifted since 2004.

'It has been a while,' he said.

'It has been nine years since we last won it and we want to win the double.

'We made a big step today but we want to go for both. We have a chance to reach the semi-final against City.'

LIVE: Newcastle v Chelsea, Arsenal v Stoke, Everton v Aston Villa, West Ham v Swansea, Reading v Sunderland, Wigan v Southampton

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Follow the action from around the grounds as it happens

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

04:00 GMT, 2 February 2013

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UPDATED:

14:18 GMT, 2 February 2013

Live scores (3pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Arsenal v Stoke

Everton v Aston Villa

Newcastle v Chelsea

Reading v Sunderland

West Ham v Swansea

Wigan v Southampton

Click here for the live Premier League table

All the latest from the Championship

All the latest from League One

All the latest from League Two

All the latest from the SPL

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Newcastle host Chelsea in one of six games kicking off at 3pm.

Arsenal will hope to put pressure on those above them in the table for a Champions League spot when they host Stoke, including Everton who welcome struggling Aston Villa.

Reading will hope their late heroics against Chelsea midweek can spur them on to three points against Sunderland at the Madejski Stadium.

West Ham bid to end a run of six games without a win when they take on Swansea, while Wigan and Southampton hope to boost their respective top flight survival hopes when they clash at the DW Stadium.

Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

14.10: Also worth a few minutes of your time before kick-off at 3pm is the latest column from Sportsmail's Martin Samuel, who answered back to YOUR responses surrounding Chelsea's Eden Hazard and the ball boy/teenager.

14.05: QPR were the first team to field their deadline day signings. And you can see how Chris Samba and Andros Townsend are fairing on their debuts for the Hoops by clicking here to follow our live coverage of QPR v Norwich with Alex Horlock. We are into the second half at Loftus Road.

14.00: Afternoon folks. You may have noticed that all of the matches over the next two days are the reverse fixtures from the second weekend of the season.

Since then we've seen the closure of two transfer windows so if your team has not signed that holding midfielder or star striker that you badly needed even back in the summer then that's too bad.

If your side was busy up until the 11pm deadline on Thursday then this is the first chance to see the potential deadline day stars that could just save your season. Either way today's team news is coming up.

Gunning for three points: Arsenal, Everton, West Ham and Chelsea are in action from 3pm

Gunning for three points: Arsenal, Everton, West Ham and Chelsea are in action from 3pm

Premier League predictions: Martin Keown and Jamie Redknapp go head-to-head

Premier League predictions: Martin Keown and Jamie Redknapp go head-to-head

By
Martin Keown and Jamie Redknapp

PUBLISHED:

22:45 GMT, 28 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:59 GMT, 29 January 2013

Pressure is hotting up at both ends of the Premier League table this week, with a full programme of fixtures across Tuesday and Wednesday.

At the bottom, Newcastle and Aston Villa head into their clash knowing defeat could see a calamitous season hit new lows with a place in a relegation zone.

Friendly rivalry: Jamie Redknapp and Martin Keown have predicted this midweek's Premier League results

Friendly rivalry: Jamie Redknapp and Martin Keown have predicted this midweek's Premier League results

Friendly rivalry: Jamie Redknapp and Martin Keown have predicted this midweek's Premier League results

Closer to the top, Arsenal and Liverpool, both still very much the outsiders in the four-way race for the Champions League places, square off at Emirates Stadium, though even three points won't see either side overtake Tottenham, who are at Norwich.

As for the title-chasing trio, Chelsea and Manchester City are away – the champions at QPR and the Blues at Reading, while Manchester United welcome Southampton to Old Trafford.

With so much at stake – and so soon after one of the most memorable weekends of FA Cup upsets – a surprise, or two, are certainly not out of the question.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

Alan Pardew

Alan Pardew

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger

But where do our experts see the points going Martin Keown and Jamie Redknapp, themselves no strangers to playing under intense pressure, have had their say on all 10 games taking place.

If it's goals you want, both suggest you head to north London. In the west of the capital a shock could be on the cards if Jamie is to be believed, while Martin thinks a similarly surprising result could happen at the Madjeski.

MARTIN AND JAMIE'S PREMIER LEAGUE PREDICTIONS

TUESDAY
JAMIE REDKNAPP
MARTIN KEOWN

Aston Villa v Newcastle

1-1

1-1

QPR v Manchester City

2-2

1-1

Stoke v Wigan

2-1

2-1

Sunderland v Swansea

2-1

1-0

WEDNESDAY

Arsenal v Liverpool

2-2

3-2

Everton v West Brom

2-1

2-0

Fulham v West Ham

2-1

1-1

Man United v Southampton

3-1

3-1

Norwich v Tottenham

1-2

0-2

Reading v Chelsea

1-2

2-2

Premier League preview

Jose Mourinho tells Rafael Benitez "mind your own business"

Mourinho tells Benitez 'mind your own business' after Real comments

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UPDATED:

00:08 GMT, 22 December 2012

Jose Mourinho has told Rafael Benitez to keep his mind on managing Chelsea instead of passing comment on Real Madrid.

Mourinho was reacting to a radio interview Benitez carried out in midweek with Spanish station Onda Cero.

During the interview, Benitez was told that Real Madrid were interested in employing him when his contract runs out at Chelsea.

Under pressure: Mourinho at Real's game against Espanyol last weekend

Under pressure: Mourinho at Real's game against Espanyol last weekend

He replied: ‘I know things, but I am not going to say anything about Real Madrid because I don’t think I should.’

Benitez’s evasive answer suggested rumours that Real are lining him up to come in at the end of the season have strong foundation.

Mourinho said: ‘As a Chelsea fan, all I can say is that I hope he was not thinking about Real Madrid during the Corinthians game.’

Benitez oversaw Chelsea’s defeat by the Brazilian side in the Club World Cup last Sunday, missing out on the honour he picked up at Inter Milan after Mourinho had won the Champions League with the Italian club.

Mourinho is expected to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season and could even end up back at Chelsea, while Benitez is among the Spanish club’s options.

Asked about drawing Manchester United in the next round of the Champions League, Mourinho said it was too far away to comment on the game.

Old rivals: Benitez and Mourinho in 2007

Old rivals: Benitez and Mourinho in 2007

But he did lament the current form of his team as they go into their last game of the year having already dropped more points this season than in the whole of last.

He said: ‘We have to improve in all aspects of the play. We are not happy with our numbers from these first months of the season.’

The match against Malaga on Saturday is Mourinho’s 400th league game in top flight football and he questioned whether his players shared his motivation to go on winning.

He said: ‘I did not realise about reaching 400 games until I was told but I know that I have lost less than 40 games. That is less than 10 per cent defeats.

‘I have never been found wanting in terms of motivation. The players have to find that motivation and improve.’

He all but ruled out the possibility of Real facing Manchester United in February boosted by new January transfer window signings.

He said: ‘I think the winter market is not something that works for Madrid. I don’t think anyone will be coming in or going out.’

Rafa Benitez: Winning will silence Chelsea fans

Only winning will silence abuse from Chelsea fans, admits Benitez

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UPDATED:

12:13 GMT, 21 December 2012

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has admitted he does not understand the supporters who still abuse him in the stands and chant the name of former boss Roberto Di Matteo.

The Spaniard has been subjected to taunts from the Stamford Bridge crowd since his first game in charge, a 0-0 draw with Manchester City last month.

But Benitez, who led Chelsea to a 5-1 win over Leeds in the Capital One Cup in midweek, hopes improved results can silence the doubters.

In the hotseat: Rafa Benitez told Spanish radio he plans to silence the Chelsea doubters

In the hotseat: Rafa Benitez told Spanish radio he plans to silence the Chelsea doubters

'I have a challenge, that is to win and do well, it’s about time to
convince many,' he told Spanish radio station Onda Cero.

'If we can win, convincing will be easier, it says “be
quiet”, sometimes I do not understand the songs (fans sing against him),
I’m focused on the game and do not know what happens in the stands.'

Benitez has also brought about an improvement in maligned striker Fernando Torres with his Spanish counterpart scoring six goals in his last five games.

Under fire: Rafa Benitez has been abused by the Chelsea fans who preferred Roberto Di Mateo (below)

Under fire: Rafa Benitez has been abused by the Chelsea fans who preferred Roberto Di Mateo (below)

Roberto Di Matteo

'Fernando is working very hard, I have the ability to talk to him in
Spanish, but he can still improve and he knows it.

'We are making small
adjustments to the tactics and motivation, and Torres is trying to help
the team a lot. His main job has to be to attack and be as close as
possible to the area.'

Former Liverpool manager Benitez also admitted it can be difficult to adapt to England after spending so long in Spain.

Helping hand: Benitez has brought the best of Fernando Torres after linking up with the striker again

Helping hand: Benitez has brought the best of Fernando Torres after linking up with the striker again

'I spent 20 years in Spain and six here, and it is a very nice place but you have to adapt, if you don’t it is very difficult to bring players, the family does not fit,' he added.

'There is a lot of tradition, it’s all very endearing, it’s a very beautiful place. In England football is lived differently and to train here is very nice.'

Jack Wilshere puts in best performance since Arsenal return

Jumping Jack! Wenger revelling in Wilshere's finest performance since return

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UPDATED:

22:36 GMT, 9 December 2012

As Jack Wilshere turned in his best performance since returning from his 15 month injury hell on Saturday, his manager fired out a stark warning to Arsenal’s rivals.

‘Have we got our old Jack back Yes…our young old Jack,’ said Arsene Wenger.

‘But he is not at his maximum yet, but on his showing against West Bromwich he is not too far away.'

Skipping clear: Jack Wilshere was almost back to his best against West Brom

Skipping clear: Jack Wilshere was almost back to his best against West Brom

The 20-year-old midfielder looked back to his brilliant best as the Gunners lifted at least some of the dark clouds that have cast a worrying shadow over the club in recent weeks.

His immaculate first touch, unerring vision and deadly passing ability has been on display since he made his long-awaited return in the 1-0 win organist QPR on October 27.

But against West Bromwich on Saturday, there was a sharpness – an incisiveness – about the England midfielder’s display.

‘He excites me, I played him when he was 16 because I saw something,’ said Wenger.

‘I’m just happy that a boy of 20 can play football because he was out for 15 months. I believe the surprising thing for me is how advanced he is.
‘I expected him to be back, next year in February, at his best. He looks much earlier than I expected him to be.

‘But I still have to be cautious. For example, against West Brom is the first time I see him very very close to the player he is.

Rough and tumble: Wilshere looks to have recovered well from injury

Rough and tumble: Wilshere looks to have recovered well from injury

‘But we have to see if he has no reaction. It was good to leave him at home against Olympiakos in midweek, to give him a breather from time to time.

‘Maybe two, three games and then one breather maybe. But when he plays at that level, and you are under the pressure we are under to win the games, it is difficult to leave him out.’

Wilshere concurs: ‘Maybe I’m at 90 per cent. Every game that goes by I feel better and better fitness-wise.

‘When I get up to 100 per cent I will really show what I can do. I think the West Brom game was my best since coming back from injury.

‘It is a new experience for me – my first injury. I did not know what to expect. I spoke to a few players who have had long-term injuries.

‘They said you will come back and have a good game and you think “I am back” then you will have another game and you are not so good.

‘I think the first few games my adrenalin got me through which is why I was so up for it.

Brace yourself: Mikel Arteta scored both goals for Arsenal on Saturday

Brace yourself: Mikel Arteta scored both goals for Arsenal on Saturday

‘Then you start to realise it is not as simple as that and things start catching up with you. Then you start to get back back to your best.’

The Gunners had to rely on two Mikel Arteta penalties against Steve Clarke’s side on Saturday.

The Baggies manager had major gripes with referee Mike Jones’ decision to award both spot kicks – particularly the first as Santi Cazorla looked to blatantly dive under pressure from Steven Reid.

Wenger will remind Cazorla of his responsibilities after the weekend controversy, but the Spain international is expected to dodge any formal punishment.

‘I think it’s a wrong decision but that said I think referees have a difficult job,’ said defender Jonas Olsson.

‘They have to make the decision in a split second. If it’s a dive, the focus should be on the person diving as well.

‘You can blame the player. It’s a wrong decision.’

Fernando Torres scores goals against Sunderland and Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez is delighted

Torres breaks Premier League drought by doubling up with super volley and penalty to leave Rafa purring

|

UPDATED:

20:05 GMT, 8 December 2012

Fernando Torres broke his Barclays Premier League goal drought with an fine volley against Sunderland before adding another from the penalty spot.

The Spanish striker had not scored in the top flight since October 6 in Chelsea's 4-1 victory over Norwich – a total of 12 hours and 30 minutes of game time.

Rafael Benitez said after the match that 'we are watching a Fernando Torres with more confidence'.

Pouncing: Fernando Torres volleys home superbly to open the scoring against Sunderland

Pouncing: Fernando Torres volleys home superbly to open the scoring against Sunderland

Spot on: Fernando Torres strokes home from the spot but not before debating with David Luiz over who got to take it

Spot on: Fernando Torres strokes home from the spot but not before debating with David Luiz over who got to take it

Fire in his belly: Torres contesting for the rights to take the spot kick with defender Luiz - who scored one in midweek

Fire in his belly: Torres contesting for the rights to take the spot kick with defender Luiz – who scored one in midweek

'The team played well and created chances for Torres to score goals, especially in the first half,' said the Chelsea manager.

'We showed the character and the quality we have, that we can create chances and Fernando can score goals.

'We are winning, the team is training really well. You can see with more confidence the things they can do.

'Fernando is one of these players; he
knows what I want from him and the rest of the team know each other
really well so, when we do things well, we get more confidence and, when
we have that, with the quality we have, we will win more games.

Eden Hazard, who has also been
off-colour in recent weeks, laid on the first goal with a superb assist –
just as he did for Torres' second against Nordsjaelland in the
Champions League.

Then Torres converted his first ever Premier League penalty to double Chelsea's lead and his own goal tally.

Seb
Larsson needlessly took down Ramires and the Spaniard surprised a few
people by stepping up to the spot and expertly dispatching the penalty.

But he has a history of taking penalties at Sunderland's ground.

It was at the Stadium of Light he scored from the spot in the final of the European U16 Championships, 11 years ago.

Happy times: Victor Moses celebrates with Torres who played with more conviction than of late

Happy times: Victor Moses celebrates with Torres who played with more conviction than of late

That's more like it: Recently Torres has not caused the keepers much trouble - but he's certainly bothering Simon Mignolet here

That's more like it: Recently Torres has not caused the keepers much trouble – but he's certainly bothering Simon Mignolet here

Credit: Has Rafael Benitez sparked something in Torres or is it just chance

Credit: Has Rafael Benitez sparked something in Torres or is it just chance

In
the quarter final he also scored from the spot – at the same stadium –
as Spain drew 1-1 with Italy. And guess what He also scored the winning
penalty in the subsequent shoot-out.

So it was no wonder he felt comfortable enough to put himself forward today.

Benitez said: 'For me the positive is he had the
confidence [to take the penalty]. We have three penalty takers and it
depends on the moment – the players decide.

'David [Luiz] has a lot of confidence, but Fernando said, “Yes, I will take it and I will score”.

'It's fair to say we are watching a Fernando with more confidence; he has more belief and, in the same time, the team as well.

'I felt it was a question of confidence and a little change in his movement. I would like to see him scoring goals every game.'

Torres even got an assist for Juan Mata's goal – his shot rebounding off the frame of the goal for his compatriot to fire home.

In between his goal at Norwich and
today's efforts the striker scored just three times in 11 games, two
coming against the hapless Danish side which Chelsea beat 6-1 on
Wednesday.

Relief: Torres celebrates after scoring his first goal for 750 minutes

Relief: Torres celebrates after scoring his first goal for 750 minutes

Relief: Fernando Torres scored his first Premier League goal for two months

The other goal was also in Europe –
the ball rebounding off him and into the net as he closed down Shakhtar
Donetsk's goalkeeper.

Many
believe Rafael Benitez, a man widely disliked by the Stamford Bridge
faithful, was brought in by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to get the
Spaniard firing like he did at Liverpool.

Whether
or not he is going to be able to restore the striker to his former
glory remains to be seen, but the conviction he attacked Hazard's cross
with has been missed in recent months.

And Torres has often overlooked the chance to take penalties in the past – something he has been criticised for – so has Benitez given him some much needed belief

Smiling: Torres was much happier than when he netted in midweek

Smiling: Torres was much happier than when he netted in midweek

Fernando Torres scores goals against Sunderland for Chelsea

At last! Torres breaks Premier League drought by doubling up with super volley and penalty

|

UPDATED:

16:18 GMT, 8 December 2012

Fernando Torres broke his Barclays Premier League goal drought with an exceptional volley against Sunderland before adding another from the penalty spot.

The Spanish striker had not scored in the top flight since October 6 in Chelsea's 4-1 victory over Norwich – a total of 12 hours and 30 minutes of game time.

Eden Hazard, who has also been off-colour in recent weeks, laid on the first goal with a superb assist – just like he did for Torres' second against Nordsjaelland in the Champions League.

Pouncing: Fernando Torres volleys home superbly to open the scoring against Sunderland

Pouncing: Fernando Torres volleys home superbly to open the scoring against Sunderland

Spot on: Fernando Torres strokes home from the spot but not before debating with David Luiz over who got to take it

Spot on: Fernando Torres strokes home from the spot but not before debating with David Luiz over who got to take it

Fire in his belly: Torres contesting for the rights to take the spot kick with defender Luiz - who scored one in midweek

Fire in his belly: Torres contesting for the rights to take the spot kick with defender Luiz – who scored one in midweek

Then he converted his first ever Premier League penalty to double Chelsea's lead and his own goal tally.

Seb Larsson needlessly took down Ramires and the Spaniard surprised a few people by stepping up to the spot and expertly dispatching the penalty.

But he has a history of taking penalties at Sunderland's ground.

Happy times: Victor Moses celebrates with Torres who played with more conviction than of late

Happy times: Victor Moses celebrates with Torres who played with more conviction than of late

It was at the Stadium of Light he scored from the spot in the final of the European U16 Championships, 11 years ago.

In the quarter final he also scored from the spot – at the same stadium – as Spain drew 1-1 with Italy. And guess what He also scored the winning penalty in the subsequent shoot-out.

So it's no wonder he felt comfortable enough to put himself forward today.

He even got an assist for Juan Mata's goal – his shot rebounding off the frame of the goal for his compatriot to fire home.

That's more like it: Recently Torres has not caused the keepers much trouble - but he's certainly bothering Simon Mignolet here

That's more like it: Recently Torres has not caused the keepers much trouble – but he's certainly bothering Simon Mignolet here

Credit: Has Rafael Benitez sparked something in Torres or is it just chance

Credit: Has Rafael Benitez sparked something in Torres or is it just chance

In between his goal at Norwich and
today's efforts the striker scored just three times in 11 games, two
coming against the hapless Danish side which Chelsea beat 6-1 on
Wednesday.

The other goal was also in Europe –
the ball rebounding off him and into the net as he closed down Shakhtar
Donetsk's goalkeeper.

Relief: Torres celebrates after scoring his first goal for 750 minutes

Relief: Torres celebrates after scoring his first goal for 750 minutes

Relief: Fernando Torres scored his first Premier League goal for two months

Many
believe Rafael Benitez, a man widely disliked by the Stamford Bridge
faithful, was brought in by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to get the
Spaniard firing like he did at Liverpool.

Whether
or not he is going to be able to restore the striker to his former
glory remains to be seen, but the conviction he attacked Hazard's cross
with has been missed in recent months.

And Torres has often overlooked the chance to take penalties in the past – something he has been criticised for – so has Benitez given him some much needed belief

Smiling: Torres was much happier than when he netted in midweek

Smiling: Torres was much happier than when he netted in midweek

Manchester City v Manchester United: European knockout will help Blues – Sir Alex Ferguson

Try keeping your squad happy now, Mancini! Ferguson fires warning at rival following City's European humiliation

|

UPDATED:

10:51 GMT, 7 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini will have an impossible job keeping his players happy after the defending Barclays Premier League champions crashed out of Europe.

City have one of the biggest – and by far the most expensive – squads in the Premier League.

Ferguson reckons playing fewer games will be an advantage to City in the title race, but believes Mancini will struggle to keep his players happy.

Exit: Manchester City crashed out of Europe this week - but Fergie reckons it will hand them an advantage

Exit: Manchester City crashed out of Europe this week – but Fergie reckons it will hand them an advantage

Sorry, Sir Alex but you're off target

Sir Alex Ferguson claimed rivals Manchester City get a 'lot of penalties' but since the start of the 2010/11 season both City and United have been awarded the same number of spot kicks.

The Manchester clubs have won 21 penalties each, with Chelsea (16) up next and Liverpool and Tottenham (13) rounding out the top four.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's Manchester derby, Ferguson said: 'It's an advantage for City. It gives
them a full week to prepare for their League games and obviously they
will be playing less games.

'I think they would rather have European football because any big team wants to play in Europe all the time. From that disappointment though
comes a definite advantage.

'Having said that they have to keep all their
players happy as they have a big squad. That's an encumbrance to them in
terms of picking the right team because everybody will want to play.'

Defeat: United were beaten in midweek by Cluj but their passage to the last 16 had already been secured

Defeat: United were beaten in midweek by Cluj but their passage to the last 16 had already been secured

Ferguson also said City are given
far too many penalties. The champions have been awarded 21 spot-kicks
since the start of the 2010/11 campaign.

'They have scored lots of goals late
in the game and they do get lots of penalties,' Ferguson added. 'If we
got that many penalties there would be an inquiry in the House of
Commons.'

Tom Cleverley will undergo a scan on his calf injury on Friday. The 23-year-old limped out of United's 1-0 Champions League defeat to Cluj on Wednesday, leaving him doubtful for Sunday's clash with City.

Scan: Cleverley limped out of United's defeat against Cluj on Wednesday

Scan: Cleverley limped out of United's defeat against Cluj on Wednesday

Ferguson added: 'Tom Cleverley is having a scan today. It is a calf. We shall see.'

Ferguson also revealed that Shinji Kagawa and Nemanja Vidic, who have both suffered knee injuries, are struggling to be fit in time for the derby match at the Etihad Stadium.

He said: 'I thought Kagawa may have a chance but he is still a bit short. He won't be available until Sunderland next week.

'Nemanja Vidic is certainly doing well in training. It is just his own confidence to play. He will be ready for Sunderland.'

United's defence has come under scrutiny following the 4-3 victory at Reading last week. And Ferguson admitted set piece defending has been worked on at the training ground since.

He said: 'Manchester City will have expected us to work on it (defending set pieces). I am sure they have (attacking them).'