Chelsea hail Oscar's Champions League debut against Juventus

Petr Cech and Mikel John Obi have hailed the talents of Oscar after the Brazilian marked his Champions League debut for Chelsea – Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Juventus – with two goals, the second of which was a sensational curling, bending strike on the turn.

Cech even went as far as to suggest that the 21-year-old, who was signed for £25m from Internacional in July, has already proved to be "good value".

"He plays great football, a simple one or two touches, and he's always available," said Cech. "He has a pretty big price tag on him for a young guy and that's an extra pressure. So it's been great for him that we see this performance, and two goals will give him a lot of confidence. People will realise he is good value."

The draw at Stamford Bridge was Oscar's first start for Chelsea after he had featured as a substitute on three previous occasions for the club, and his impact was such that observers are already suggesting he has the potential to emulate his fellow Brazilian playmaker, Kaká.

"Only time will tell [if he can be as good as Kaká] but he's on a very good way," Cech added. "He's settled in quickly and you can see he's worth the money the club spent. He's only 20 [sic] so let's see how he's going to develop."

For the goal that put Chelsea 2-0 up against the Serie A champions, Ashley Cole played the ball into Oscar's path just outside the penalty area and, having spun away from Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Pirlo in one movement, he instantly bent the ball over Gianluigi Buffon and into the top corner of the net. The quality of that strike may have come as a surprise to some but, according to Mikel, Oscar's team-mates have been aware of his capabilities for some time.

"We have seen him in training smash balls in like that," said the midfielder. "We knew it was just a matter of time. The English game is not easy. It is very difficult to come in and straightaway adapt to it but we have seen what he can do and hopefully he can keep going. He can only get better."

Oscar's display was the highlight of an otherwise frustrating night for Chelsea as they marked their first ever match as European champions by throwing away an early lead through defensive carelessness.

Cech admitted such lapses were a concern but aggressively disputed the notion that Chelsea's collapse was down to a desire by the team to prove their Champions League credentials, having been deemed by some as lucky winners of last year's competition.

He said: "We got sucked into the atmosphere of the first Champions League game as European champions and wanted to win. We got 2-0 up and at that point we attacked too much and we could have slowed the game down, kept more of the possession.

"We don't need to prove anything – you have to play 13 games to win the Champions League and you might be lucky in only one or two of them. Whenever it was that we got knocked out by Barcelona [the 2009 semi-finals], they were lucky to be in the final. Everyone said that they played brilliant football and were worthy winners but they shouldn't have been in the final. Nobody talks about that.

"We didn't steal it [the Champions League]. We deserved to win."

Powered by article was written by Sachin Nakrani, for The Guardian on Thursday 20th September 2012 23.00 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © Jason Bagley

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