DI MATTEO: MIDDLE HOPES

Roberto Di Matteo has been talking further about Oscar who this weekend is available for a Chelsea game for the first time, and about what he wants from the midfield this season.

The Brazilian international started life at Cobham on Thursday following international duty and trained for the first time on Friday morning, but the manager is prepared to use him at Wigan on Sunday afternoon if he decides that is good for the team. Oscar is one of three new attacking midfielders in the first team squad at the start of this season although Marko Marin is out of the Wigan game with a hamstring injury.

With Eden Hazard also on the scene, one of the most interesting aspects over the next few weeks will be discovering how Di Matteo intends to deploy them.

On Oscar he said: ‘He is a goal-scoring midfielder, a creative midfielder as well. In his career so far he has played on the left side, he has played there with the national team, and he has played behind the strikers and the number 8 role as well in a three-man midfield – so he is quite versatile.

‘He had a very good Olympic tournament and he is a young man as well, let’s not forget that, and I think he will be a very good addition for us.

‘He has broken through to the senior Brazil team at a young age and you need personality to achieve that.’

Although Oscar played in the Olympics, Di Matteo does not anticipate needing to give him the type of break during the season he is planning for Juan Mata, who has played a considerable amount of football over the past 12 months. The manager indicated Spain may be willing to help by not selecting the Chelsea Player of the Year for internationals this autumn.

‘Mata needs to have a break,’ added Di Matteo, ‘and it is important as much as training is important that you have a rest and recharge your batteries and come back fresh. We will it plan it intelligently so he won’t miss too much of our season.’

When they do play, the Italian is looking to the likes of Mata and Oscar to take some the goal-scoring weight off the shoulders of Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge.

‘We have two very good strikers who can score goals and I’m sure they will. We need the other players to chip in – Mata, Oscar, Hazard, Lampard always scores goals, and Ramires at the end of last season scored some important goals – so we need to try to diversify it.

‘With the integration of our new players into the team, there will be some changes [to playing style] because they have different abilities from players that we had last season, but the core of the team are still here and we will adapt – but I don’t think there is going to be a revolution.’

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