Torres : Reds Duo Inspire Me

Paul Hassall 05 July 2008

Fernando Torres has revealed that the inspirational presence of both Rafael Benitez and Steven Gerrard were key factors behind his sensational goalscoring exploits for Liverpool last season.

The Reds striker netted 33 goals in all-competitions to finish with the best ever tally in a debut campaign for a foreign player and he believes his impressive tally is all down to the driving force and encouraging words of his manager.

"There are days when you think: 'My God, this guy [Benitez] doesn't let you breathe'," said Torres.

"At times like that, you don't realise that all he wants is for you to improve.

"When you are in a team where things are going mostly well, players tend to relax. But you must always push yourself. Never become complacent; you try to do your best every single day.

"At a club like Liverpool, you can't sit back after scoring 20-odd goals and say: 'Well, that's it.' After you score 20, Benitez is at you during the next training session and stays on top of you all day, all week.

"He tells you to go off on your own and do new exercises. I want to progress in life, not relax, not be complacent, and you need someone close to you telling you to keep at it. It is impossible to do it otherwise. We don't always fancy someone that close but, in the long term, I am sure that everybody will thank him for it."

The Spain international striker also had words of praise for club skipper Steven Gerrard, whose conduct on and off the pitch has served as a perfect example to a player who has now risen to the same high profile heights as the Reds number eight.

"I really admire Steven," he continued.

"I know the pressure he is under every day, everybody talking about him all day long. In the changing-room, in the pubs, in the stadium. I've heard people say he should be stronger, have a stronger personality.

"I know by experience how difficult it is to deal with that because Liverpool is a huge club. And he's at another level, of course.

"People look at you from a distance and challenge you with their eyes. All that happens to Steve every day and he copes with it, everything that is expected of him all the time. He's always under tremendous pressure to perform and everyone looks to him to show leadership, to lift the team.

"He's a great example, and those of us who have been in a similar situation know how difficult it is to handle. It's incredible the way he carries himself regardless of what is going on around him. I'd love to be captain of another team one day and Steve has shown me how to be a great leader."

While Torres has enjoyed a series of highs over the past 12 months, he admits there have also been occasions in the past that he has endured the lows.

In these times of frustration he has been grateful to his girlfriend Olalla, who has offered him advice and encouragement.

"She has had to suffer much disappointed ranting and moaning, especially when I was at Atletico," he said. "Now, she is also having a good time herself.

"She knows how to calm me down when I haven't been able to see the way out of the tunnel or wake me up when I've been sleeping. She pushes me when I need to be encouraged. The person that lives with you is sometimes the only one capable of helping you up when you don't realise how down you are."

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