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Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Benitez dismisses any discord with Oscar

ESPN.com news services

Rafael Benitez said on Tuesday that he has no rift between him and Oscar following the Brazilian midfielder's exclusion from Chelsea's starting lineup in Sunday's Club World Cup final.

"Oscar is fine," the interim Chelsea manager said. "He's a very good professional. We don't have any issue with him."

Benitez said he welcomed Oscar's dismay at his being dropped from the starting eleven against Brazilian side Corinthians.

"Oscar's not happy because he's not playing and that's fantastic," he said. "There would be a problem if it was the opposite."

Oscar will feature in Wednesday's Capital One Cup quarterfinal at Leeds but has been used sparingly by Benitez to date, starting just three of his seven games in charge.

The Brazilian playmaker expressed his disappointment after being relegated to the bench against Corinthians, but Benitez denied there's been any falling out with the player.

"I try to manage players, especially in his position because we have Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, who can do more or less the same job," the Spaniard said. "It's difficult for them but it's good for me because I have different problems. There's are no issues or problems.

"Oscar will have a lot of time on the pitch and I'm sure he'll be a great player for the club."

Leeds will be Benitez' eighth game in charge since taking over 25 days ago, a hectic schedule that continues with Christmas fixtures against Aston Villa, Norwich, Everton and QPR.

"We have to win every competition if we can. We have rivalry with Leeds and we have one less competition to win after losing on Sunday," Benitez said. "We can't just call it another game, it's a very important match for us. Christmas time is a crucial period because you can play so many games that will change everything."

Benitez admits he is in daily discussions with technical director Michael Emenalo over potential transfer activity for January.

"Hopefully we have two or three days after this game where we'll have plenty of time to talk about names," he said. "There's no formal meeting because we can chat every day. Michael is watching the training session and we talk every day - about players and how the team is doing.

"I know what Michael likes and he knows what I like and we come to an agreement."

Chelsea have been stretched by the loss of John Obi Mikel, Gary Cahill and Ramires to suspension and while striker Daniel Sturridge may return from his hamstring injury against Leeds, John Terry is still out with a knee problem.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.




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