Oscar thriving under Antonio Conte's guidance
Published 16/09/2016 | 04:36
Oscar is revelling in being an "important" player for Chelsea once again, according to boss Antonio Conte.
The Brazil international was linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge over the summer having struggled for form under Jose Mourinho before losing his place under Guus Hiddink last season.
But having pushed the 25-year-old back into central midfield, rather than behind the striker or stuck out on the wing, Conte seems to have rediscovered the Oscar of a couple of years ago.
"I always thought that this team needed a good balance both in possession and when you are without the ball," said Conte.
"Last season Chelsea conceded 55 goals. Now I think we have found the right compromise between offensive and defensive situations.
"Oscar is a good player with good technique and can do both phases, offensive and defensive. I asked him to stay always focused and to stay in the game.
"He is an important player for Chelsea, a good passer, good technique, and he can scores goals. He sees the goal very well.
"There was speculation but I am very glad for him that he stayed because he is in my plans."
Chelsea host Liverpool on Friday night with the Reds also boasting a midfield player who is back in form.
Against Leicester Adam Lallana last weekend scored his second goal in a week and his third in six matches for club and country.
Manager Jurgen Klopp rates the 28-year-old, who lives next door to him in Formby, highly and appears to have found a deeper role which is getting the best out of him.
"Adam was, from the first second, important," said Klopp. "I knew him from Southampton and I thought he was a really good player.
"To be honest I didn't see too much from when he played for Liverpool but I knew from Southampton he was a brilliant player.
"Since we worked together it's always getting better. He can play different positions, he's quick, he's mentally strong, he's a smart player.
"He's a nice guy, even as a neighbour. I have a few other neighbours who are nice - but they are not that good as footballers."