SOUTHAMPTON - Agence France-Presse
Ba celebrates scoring Chelsea’s fourth goal against Southampton. AFP photo
Rafael Benitez sees no reason why strikers Demba Ba and Fernando Torres cannot play together after Ba scored two debut goals as Chelsea crushed Southampton 5-1 in the FA Cup.
With Torres watching on from the bench at St Mary’s on Jan 5., Senegal international Ba took just 35 minutes to score his first Chelsea goal -- a feat that took the Spaniard 14 games and two and a half months.
“They could play together,” said Benitez.
“Ba was playing with (Newcastle United striker Papiss) Cisse last month, so he can play in a two because he is a clever player, but it depends on the players and the game. I prefer this problem of having two strikers than having to be careful just with one.”
“It is important for the team to have these different options. They are good players and they can compete, or maybe we can manage them together -- it depends on the games.” Ba scored in each half, adding to goals from Victor Moses, Branislav Ivanovic and a late penalty from Frank Lampard, to round off a superb performance in which he fitted into the Blues’ forward line. “It is always important for a striker to score goals but, more than the goals, it was the contribution for the team, the movement and the understanding of what we wanted to do that pleased me,” said Benitez. “He was really good and everything he did pleased me. He was very clever.” Lampard’s goal, after he came off the bench in the second half, was his 193rd for Chelsea and took him level with Kerry Dixon in second place in the club’s all-time scoring charts.