It was the performance of Hakim Ziyech that caught the eye in tonight’s resounding 4-0 victory over Krasnodar, and Frank Lampard spoke of his satisfaction at being able to use the Moroccan from the start for the first time and watch him truly announce himself as a Chelsea player.
The global pandemic and then an injury sustained in pre-season delayed Ziyech’s full Chelsea debut until tonight, when he was our most creative outlet during his 80 minutes on the pitch and notched his first Blues goal with a fine angled finish.
So it was no wonder Lampard’s post-match assessment started with a rave review of Ziyech’s outing, with the boss also discussing Callum Hudson-Odoi, Toni Rudiger and Roman Abramovich, one of those in attendance in the Krasnodar Stadium…
‘Hakim Ziyech has worked really hard to be fit, and I was very excited to get his quality in the team,’ said Lampard.
‘He brought a lot of quality and calmness when he was on the pitch, and got a well-deserved goal. His performance was very, very good when you consider he hasn’t started a match since March when the Dutch league finished.
‘It’s been frustrating for him and for us his injury has meant he hasn’t been able to start, but what I’ve seen in training and what I knew we were signing is a player of immense quality with personality to receive the ball and find assists and goals. We saw a lot of glimpses of that today, and he will get better.
‘We brought him in to do a job, maybe people have forgotten a bit because we signed him in January and he missed the start of the season, but tonight he showed he is here.’
Callum Hudson-Odoi started on the left wing and opened the scoring
‘Callum deserved a chance to play. He’s trained very well recently, we have competition in those areas and we are also in the middle of a very busy patch of games. We need input from all the attacking players, and we had that today: Callum getting his goal, Hakim, Christian coming on for a goal. I was very pleased with those parts of our game.
‘The goal is going to be good for his confidence. There were things I liked in his game: the desire to run behind the defence, sometimes one v one it didn’t go his way but when you play in the Champions League and you get that goal, I know the feeling of confidence it can give him.’