It was in the Champions League almost exactly a year ago when Oscar announced his arrival in stunning fashion, scoring two wonderful goals against Juventus, and the Brazilian is hoping he can produce the goods once more as we look to secure our first win in this season’s competition against Steaua Bucharest.
Oscar, making his first Chelsea start, netted a top-quality brace against the Italians at Stamford Bridge last September in a 2-2 draw, the second of which won him the club’s Goal of the Season award, and having featured in every game so far this season he looks set to be a key player for us once again at the National Arena.
Jose Mourinho’s side take on the Romanian outfit looking to bounce back from the disappointment of our 2-1 defeat at the hands of Basel a fortnight ago, an outcome which, according to Oscar, allows no further margin for error.
‘The result against Basel has made the game against Steaua even more significant,’ he tells the official Chelsea website. ‘It’s a very important game for us, we need to make sure we get three points in order to get back up the table and help us with qualification from the group stages.
‘At least it was the first game in the competition, we now need to put it behind us and look ahead. It’s crucial that we put in a massive effort because the remaining games in the group are now so important. For now, we must just focus on Bucharest and hopefully getting a good result.’
The Brazilian, now in his second season at the club, scored our first goal of the new campaign, breaking the deadlock in our opening-day 2-0 win over Hull City at Stamford Bridge.
His performances since have pleased the manager, with Mourinho impressed not only by the creativity he provides when on the ball, but also his work-rate when we lose possession.
In our Champions League opener, until Oscar’s intervention just before the break we’d struggled to break down a Basel side who were content to defend deep and in large numbers, and he hopes tonight’s encounter, away from home, will play into our hands.
‘We played there last season in the Europa League and lost 1-0, it was a tough game so we know what to expect this time around,’ he says.
‘The fact we are playing away from home may help us a little bit, but at the same time we don’t expect them to attack too much because they are aware how strong we can be on the counter-attack. Every team we play against knows this and that’s why sometimes it can be difficult for us to break the opposition down.’
Since moving to Chelsea, Oscar has scored 14 goals for the club, half of which have come in cup competitions, with five of those coming in the Champions League.
The 22-year-old doesn’t have an explanation why he has been so prolific in Europe’s major club competition and would prefer to focus on collective rather than personal success.
‘Last year it’s true that I scored more goals in the Champions League than in the Premier League, but so far this year I’ve scored two in the Premier League and one in the Champions League,’ he says.
‘I’m just happy that things are going well for me on a personal level and I hope I can continue to perform at a high level and score goals, but the most important thing for everybody is that the team win matches.’