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.’
Toni Rudiger made his first appearance of the season
‘I am very pleased with the performance of Rudiger and Zouma. They can take credit for the clean sheet amongst other players.
‘I didn’t have doubts over Toni. His training and professionalism has been clear since I’ve been here, certainly in recent weeks, and I was pleased with the back five’s concentration levels to have a real desire to keep a clean sheet.’
Jorginho missed from the spot and Lampard was asked if he would consider changing the taker
‘Jorginho has had an incredibly successful rate of scoring penalties in his career, particularly at Chelsea. My feeling is when you take as many penalties as he does, there can be periods when you miss one, or sometimes miss one or two, I experienced that as a player, but I have no problem with his style of taking them.
‘I know Timo is very capable of taking penalties as we saw, we have other players who can, so I will talk with the players afterwards to see how we move forward, but we have good players at the club.’
Our owner Roman Abramovich was one member of a crowd totalling over 11,000
‘I was aware he was at the game which makes us all happy,’ said Lampard.
‘I always feel the support of the owner whether he is at games or not. To have him here is a nice bonus for myself and the squad, and we are very respectful of him of course.
‘I didn’t manage to see him, by the time I came out for the warm-up he wasn’t around, but I’m very pleased we put on a good performance with four goals and a clean sheet in his home country. I hope it made him happy.’