Torres thanks Reds duo
By Al Campbell
Updated Saturday, 5th July 2008
Fernando Torres has paid tribute to Rafael Benitez and Steven Gerrard.Torres' debut season with Liverpool was the best of his career as he scored 33 goals for the Reds and ended up a European Champion with Spain. Torres put his success down to the Liverpool manager and captain.
"There are days when you think: 'My God, this guy [Benitez] doesn't let you breathe'," said the striker.
"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.
"I [also] really admire Steven.
"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."