Chelsea’s Mourinho weighing whether to give Oscar, ‘in this moment my best player’ a rest

'Does he need a rest? Maybe yes,' admits Jose Mourinho of Oscar for Wednesday's Champions League match, but, 'is it the right decision to leave him out? I don't know'.
Oscar of Chelsea celebrates scoring in their Premier League victory over Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. Mike Hewitt / Getty Images / November 1, 2014
Oscar of Chelsea celebrates scoring in their Premier League victory over Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. Mike Hewitt / Getty Images / November 1, 2014

Jose Mourinho faces a selection quandary ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League Group G clash at Maribor.

Mourinho is determined to avoid complacency against a side beaten 6-0 at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago, with the assumption being that those with a point to prove may be given the chance.

Yet the Portuguese may be reluctant to turn to his fringe stars after being critical of their performance despite victory at Shrewsbury in the League Cup.

Oscar played at Manchester United, Shrewsbury and against QPR and could be rewarded with a rest ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash at Liverpool, yet Mourinho may not feel he can be without the Brazilian.

Mourinho said: “Does he need a rest? Maybe yes after last week. But is it the right decision to leave him out? I don’t know.

“You can imagine it’s not easy to make a decision to rest a player who in this moment is my best player.”

Mourinho did not even ask for Chelsea’s European match to be considered or enquire if Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off could be delayed against a Liverpool team who play in the Champions League 24 hours earlier at Real Madrid.

He said: “What do you want me to do? What can I say? Of course they (the Football Association and Premier League) don’t (listen).

“I won’t waste my time (asking for a fixture change).”

Captain John Terry did not feature against Shrewsbury – only three players who started against QPR also began against the League Two side in Oscar, Gary Cahill and Filipe Luis – and gains his rest during the international breaks.

Mourinho said of the 34-year-old, who has retired from England duty: “Terry does not play in the national team, so when the international break comes he has his rest.

“He always has that rest, so he does not need many other rests during our competition.”

Terry suffered fitness and confidence issues in the 2012/13 season and was not regarded as a first choice under Mourinho’s predecessor Rafa Benitez.

But Mourinho sees no change in the defender’s ability, who he appointed captain during his first spell as manager from June 2004 to September 2007.

“He is the same,” he said. “I do not see any difference.

“What he was is what he is.”

Terry and Mourinho will call for Chelsea to be ruthless against the Slovenian side in a bid to enhance their chances of early qualification for the last 16 after their opening draw with Schalke.

“We still need to qualify,” Mourinho added. “People with nine points are almost there, but when you have seven we have to win two more matches and we are not there.

“I have to focus and make the players focus on their (Maribor’s) other two matches – 1-1 against Sporting, 1-1 against Schalke – and make them understand we won 6-0 because we played very well.

“We destroyed them in the first half and we gave them no chance because of our very strong attitude.

“We have to get maybe 12 points to win the group, maybe 10 to qualify.

“We have to dispute the first (place). It is not fundamental but it maybe gives us a better chance in the draw.”

The probable presence of Ramires, who has recovered from a groin injury, is beneficial for Chelsea.

“He’s fundamental in our squad,” Mourinho added. “Tactically he is good. He can play in many positions.

“He is intense, he is good in transition, he is dangerous in attack. He has a fantastic engine to drop back and to press.

“He is an important player for us in our balance between more technical players and a player like Ramires.”

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Published: November 5, 2014 04:00 AM

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