Chelsea attacking midfielder Oscar has had a rather inconsistent 2015-16 season so far, which would be surprising were it not for the inconsistent seasons he's had in 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15 as well. It's one of the enduring knocks against the talented young man from Brazil, especially after Jose Mourinho anointed him the chosen one at the no.10 position at the expense of other options like Juan Mata and Kevin De Bruyne. When Oscar's on top of his tremendous two-way game, it's a decision that's easily justified. When he isn't, it looks like a tremendously bad decision.
To new manager Guus Hiddink, what might be holding Oscar back the most is just a bit of emotion. Oscar's like a machine. Just needs that emotion chip.
"When [Oscar] puts the emotion in, automatically his level of play rises. That's encouraging, so we try to punch him every now and then a bit to get him on this level! He's a cold player with vision and getting very good information, but when he goes into this with a little bit more of a mood of action, his play can get even better."
Even though Hiddink enjoys a bit of aggressiveness coming from his players and he wants the squad to put in the proper amount of effort and motivation, he obviously won't be encouraging any more bust-ups on the training ground.
"No, not that kind [of aggression] because we don't want to have many repetitions of this. When you go on the edge within the rules there's no problem. It's not intentionally provoked by us to have 10-a-side, 5-a-side and say 'Guys, start fighting,' because then you damage the team as well."
"You have to transfer it to the game and if you do this in a game then there might be a red or dark yellow card. I don't like when they start hitting [each other] but I like it more when I have to say 'Hey guys, I'll have to put the break on, control your emotions.' When you have to push people then your motivation is at too low a level, so I like it more that I have to be alert."
-Guus Hiddink; source: ESPN
Since his arrival, one of Hiddink's running themes has been that the players might have been relying too much on their natural talents and less on hard work and dedication on the pitch. Such lack of commitment could have easily resulted in an untimely exit from the dressing room in the past, but given that this seemed to be a squad-wide ailment, the board decided to put their trust in the players instead. It was probably their only reasonable choice, anyway.
So far, the trust seems to be paying off, with performances and results much improved from the early months of the season. It's still too early to say that Chelsea's situation will be completely reversed but at the current pace, we should have a much better end of the season than what we expected only a month ago.