Belfast Telegraph

Oscar thriving under Antonio Conte's guidance

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."


From Belfast Telegraph