Benitez looks for growth in Japan
© AFP

New Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez intends to use the European Champion's trip to the FIFA Club World Cup to hone the way he wants them to play.

The Spaniard recorded the first Premier League victory of his interim reign at Stamford Bridge yesterday when the Blues followed up their 6-1 UEFA Champions League demolition of Nordsjaelland with a 3-1 victory at Sunderland.

Perhaps significantly, Fernando Torres, who established himself as one of the top frontmen in the world under his compatriot during their time together at Liverpool, added two more goals to the double he claimed in midweek to announce his return to form.

Benitez was quick to point out that the £50m striker's resurrection has gone hand in hand with a general improvement by the team, and he is confident there is more to come as he and he players head for Japan and the Club World Cup. He said: "The team still can improve, so it's a question of time.

"Training sessions before games, you have just two or three sessions and you cannot improve everything that you want to improve. But we will have more time, maybe, in Japan, three days in the hotel. We can talk, we can analyse more things and little by little, they will get to the level at which we want to see them."

It was a great experience for me and hopefully it will be a great experience for our players.
Chelsea coach Rafael Benitez on winning the FIFA Club World Cup 2010 and looking to this year's tournament

Benitez, of course, knows the Club World Cup tournament well having taken Liverpool to the final in 2005 and won it with Inter Milan five years later. Chelsea will face Mexican outfit CF Monterrey in Yokohama on Thursday and then the final or the third-place play off at the same venue on Sunday before heading home.

Benitez said: "It's important always to have these opportunities to win any trophy, and especially a trophy like this one. We played the final in Japan in 2005, we won two years ago. It was a great experience for me and hopefully it will be a great experience for our players.

"It will be a fantastic experience. Yes, we are concerned because we know it will be very difficult, but we are working very hard trying to organise everything properly."

Chelsea headed for Japan after Saturday's game, but did so with midfielder Oriol Romeu on his way back to London to have the knee injury he suffered at the Stadium of Light assessed. That was one of few disappointments for Benitez on a day when his side largely had things their own way in the north-east of England.

As well as the three points, there was further good news for Benitez when Frank Lampard appeared as a 79th-minute replacement for Hazard after his recovery from a calf injury, and the England international was delighted to be back.

Lampard told Chelsea TV: "I felt fine. I had to be careful this time because of a recurrence I had last time, and even though I have been desperate to get back, I have been putting in the hours in the gym to make sure it's got a strong base. From now, I should be fit, touch wood. It's all good with it."