Former Chelsea star Mario Melchiot believes Frank Lampard may have understood Hakim Ziyech better than current manager Thomas Tuchel.
It’s been a difficult first season for Ziyech at Stamford Bridge following his summer move from Ajax, where he looked a world class player in the making.
The Morocco international has been slow to get going at Chelsea, however, and it might be that the change in management has not helped him as he settles in.
Lampard signed Ziyech for the Blues, but was axed for Tuchel midway through the campaign, and Melchiot mentioned this as one potential problem for the player.
The Dutchman, speaking to Stadium Astro, said: “He doesn’t always get the opportunity. I think Frank understood him better, he wanted him and went after him.
“I think Ziyech is facing now what he had at the beginning at Ajax. It was kind of difficult for him to get a run going. Once he got it, he was among the top-two players in the team.
“Now in the Premier League you have many stars around you. He has to understand that.
“I think it comes down to rhythm. If you don’t play that often, when you get your opportunity you have got to grab it.”
He added: “At Ajax he would cross the ball so many times and there were players on the end of it. They need to understand [at Chelsea] what his strengths are because if he can deliver that and really master that, it could be something special, if not then it becomes tough.”
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Chelsea fans will no doubt hope Tuchel can work out a way to get the best out of Ziyech, who looked a player capable of doing great things during his days in the Eredivisie.
In fairness, he’s far from the only new signing who’s struggled to settle at CFC this season, with the club yet to see the best of players like Timo Werner or Kai Havertz either.