According to Chelsea’s manager Frank Lampard, the starting of Hakim Ziyech’s life at Chelsea was made challenging by the coronavirus rules.
The Morocco’s 27-year-old Ziyech decided to move last summer from Ajac to Stamford Bridge at a fee of £33.3 million, but suffered a pre-season knee injury in a game with Brighton.
In the 3-3 premiership draw with Southampton last weekend, he made his long awaited debut and left the bench at a time of 0-0 in the Champions League with Sevilla. Frank Lampard appears to believe that the return of Ziyech to full fitness was hindered by the existing COVID-19 guidelines that prevent the initial team from training with the under 23s. “It’s been very difficult to integrate him,” said Lampard.
“”We have a bubble here at Cobham so we can’t play against the Under-23s or bring over a lot of kids to replicate 11 vs 11 games on big-sized pitches, which is generally where you would want someone to be working when they’ve not played for five or six months off.
“”We miss that and we have to find the right way to give Hakim and others in the squad minutes as quickly as we can.””
Ziyech has spent a lengthy period on the sides recovering from his injury, but his hunger has already attracted the attention of his manager.
“I want to help grow the ideas of leaders and figures in this group when I look at the squad. Lampard added.
“There will be moments during a long, tough season when you rely on them to help you and to drive the good times.
“”Without people with personality and character in teams, you can not go on in elite sports. I saw that in Hakim and Edu Mendy as soon as they came through the door.
“”Hakim has trust in him, his fitness comes individually, he still needs a little time to get his match fitness clear, but his injury recovery will be significant additions.
“”I encourage personality and communication between the players, we need more of that.””