Our previous two matches have provided contrasting tests for the Blues but, speaking ahead of today’s game against Newcastle United, Oscar has praised our ability to produce big performances when it really matters.
Jose Mourinho’s side go into the game in buoyant mood following Monday’s 1-0 win at Manchester City, a game in which we produced arguably our best display of the season to date, with Branislav Ivanovic’s first-half strike proving decisive.
Just how significant the victory over Manuel Pellegrini’s side will prove in terms of the title race won’t become clear for some time. However, with the Blues one of only two sides – along with Bayern Munich – to emerge from the Etihad with a victory this season, confidence within the group, as Oscar explains, is sky high.
‘It’s not only me but the whole group are very happy, it was a great, important victory,’ the Brazilian tells the official Chelsea website.
‘We are back fighting for the title and we beat Manchester City, a direct rival, but we have to keep working hard because we have more important matches to come in the months ahead.
‘I think the team were confident before the game as we’d already beaten them at Stamford Bridge. We are working really hard, we are a young team and we hope to improve with every game in order to win the title this season.’
In terms of the spectacle, Monday’s game was a world away from the match which preceded it, the 0-0 draw against West Ham United 10 days ago. The Blues were left frustrated as Sam Allardyce’s side defended in large numbers for much of the game, showing little enthusiasm to attempt to breach our defence.
Of course, every team is entitled to set up in whichever way they feel will help secure a positive result, and having to contend with opponents sitting deep is something Oscar has grown accustomed to during his time as a Chelsea player, particularly in home matches.
‘I think every team that comes to play against us at Stamford Bridge always try to defend because we are very strong in front of our own fans,’ he says.
‘Every time we play away from home it’s difficult, especially against City, because they had been beating most teams by four or five goals. They were both different matches but good tests for us and hopefully we will get more results like the one we did at City.’
Our record against those teams around us makes for pleasant reading, with the Blues unbeaten in seven against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United. There is little doubt that matches against the top sides have brought the best out of us during the current campaign, with our displays against City, Liverpool and United in particular catching the eye.
‘This season we have played beautiful games against the big sides and we’ve shown that we are a great team capable of beating anybody anywhere,’ Oscar says.
‘We hope to continue like that. We have very important competitions with the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup and we have to face some very good teams. We have to make sure we keep getting good results both at home and away.’
Today’s visitors, reeling from a 3-0 home defeat to local rivals Sunderland last week, will be looking to bounce back from a result which will have left their supporters extremely disappointed, and having got the better of us earlier in the season at St James’ Park, Oscar is taking nothing for granted.
‘All the teams that have had a bad result will always try to improve in the next game, and that’s exactly what Newcastle will try to do,’ says the 22-year-old.
‘They want to play well and they want to beat us, but it’s important we build on the Manchester City result in order to stay near the top of the table.’
Over the course of the past month, the team has grown in stature with every game, culminating in the win at Manchester City.
The manager has indicated how important playing in pressurised situations will be for the development of our younger players and Oscar, whose stunning free-kick against Stoke has been nominated for the FA Cup Goal of the Round award, is in full agreement with his manager.
‘It’s always important to try to improve with every game. I have been pleased with my performances so far this season but with so many important games to come I want to stay at a high level,’ he explains.
‘Playing in big, pressurised matches definitely helps and hopefully there will be more of them to come between now and the end of the season.’