Oscar's not happy because he's not playing… but there's no rift, says Rafa
09:01 GMT, 19 December 2012
No problem: Rafa Benitez has played down talk of a rift with Oscar
Rafael Benitez welcomes Oscar's dismay at his exclusion from Chelsea's starting line-up in Sunday's Club World Cup final against Corinthians.
Oscar will feature in tonight's Capital One Cup quarter-final at Leeds but has been used sparingly by interim manager Benitez to date, starting just three of his seven games in charge.
The Brazilian playmaker expressed his disappointment after being selected on the bench against Corinthians, but Benitez insists there is no rift with the player.
'Oscar is fine. He's a very good professional. We don't have any issue with him,' he said.
'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.
'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.
Backing: Benitez believes Oscar will be great for Chelsea but warned he must bide his time
'Oscar's not happy because he's not playing and that's fantastic. There would be a problem if it was the opposite.'
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.'
Plenty to ponder: Benitez admitted the club are busy identifying potential recruits for January
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 despite returning to training yesterday.