Oscar’s free kick goal against Stoke City showed one reason why Jose Mourinho was willing to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United.
In the 27th minute of Chelsea’s FA Cup fourth-round game against Stoke City, Oscar put the Blues ahead with a powerful free kick that swerved past outstretched Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic into the top-left corner of the goal.
Mourinho said that the strike, Oscar’s ninth goal of the season (in all competitions), was the inevitable result of the extra time Oscar spends working on his technique after practice.
“The free kick obviously made us happy,” Mourinho said, according to Sky Sports. “It’s always good when you see a player that, after the normal training session, dedicates some minutes every day to train a specific thing. To score a beautiful goal was good.”
Having brushed aside the Potters, Chelsea must now visit Manchester City (on Feb. 15 or 16) in a high-profile fifth-round FA Cup meeting between two rivals for domestic supremacy.
Chelsea will do so with Oscar, not Mata, serving as its chief central playmaker. Mourinho reportedly preferred Oscar over Mata because he felt the 22-year-old Brazilian would better fit Chelsea’s system than Mata.
Mata was Chelsea’s Player of the Season for two consecutive campaigns (2011-13) and was the Blues’ primary taker of free kicks before Mourinho’s arrival last summer. Mourinho quickly relegated Mata to the bench (before selling him for £37 million/$61 million on Saturday) and saddled Oscar with increased responsibility, which the young playmaker of the present and future is seemingly able to handle.
See Oscar’s free kick against Stoke City below.