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Benitez: No issues with Oscar

ESPN staff
December 19, 2012 « Dodson chasing pigs & squirrels to prepare for Johnson | Chartbeat test »

Rafael Benitez is confident Oscar has a bright future at Chelsea and insists there are no problems with the Brazilian after dropping him for the Club World Cup final.

Oscar publicly expressed his frustration at merely playing a cameo role in the 1-0 defeat to Corinthians, the Brazil international coming on as a substitute in the 71st minute for Victor Moses.

But despite Oscar's irritations, Benitez insists there are no issues and the player understands the need for the Spaniard to manage his squad.

"I asked him later on and was asking David Luiz whether something was lost in translation [regarding Oscar's unhappiness], but it was fine," Benitez said. "Oscar is a very good lad and a professional. His reaction has been very positive.

"If you analyse, the problem we had is playing with 11 players in the majority of games and we had to change this. We can't carry on playing the same players.

"Oscar is a new player in the Premier League and we are trying to manage these players because we have a lot like [Juan] Mata, [Eden] Hazard to do the same job. It's good for me to have this. No issues, no problems. He will have lots of minutes. I'm sure he will have a great future at this club."

After flying home from Japan, Chelsea return to domestic duties on Wednesday as they travel to Elland Road in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals. Leeds boss Neil Warnock is relishing the chance to take on the European champions.

"Win or lose, it will be a great night,'' Warnock said. "The whole eyes of the country will be on it because there is nothing else on. We are taking on one of the top three clubs in country and we want to show what a good team we are. I don't think there will be any moments where you fall asleep watching this game."

Chelsea player to watch: With John Obi Mikel and Ramires suspended, Oscar is likely to return to the Blues starting line-up at Elland Road. At just 21, the Brazilian is an old head on young shoulders, and how he responds from his frustrations at being left on the bench in Japan could be key for Chelsea.

Leeds player to watch: El-Hadji Diouf, who signed a new contract extension at Leeds last week, is well-known to Benitez, who offloaded the Senegal striker to Bolton early in his Liverpool tenure. Diouf will be desperate to prove a point against his former boss.

Betting: Diouf to score to opening goal but Chelsea to come out winners is 25/1 with bet365

Prediction: 1-3

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