Lampard lauds Ziyech’s belated impact on Blues

Lampard lauds Ziyech’s belated impact on Blues

KRASNODAR • Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said he expects Hakim Ziyech to prove his value after the Moroccan star scored his first goal for the club in Wednesday’s 4-0 win at Krasnodar in the Champions League.

Jorginho missed a penalty for Chelsea but Callum Hudson-Odoi put the Blues in front before half-time after a mistake by Krasnodar goalkeeper Matvei Safonov.

Timo Werner smashed in a spot kick on 76 minutes to double Chelsea’s lead, with Ziyech and Christian Pulisic adding late goals.

“Hakim Ziyech has worked really hard to be fit, and I was very excited to get his quality in the team,” said Lampard.

“I thought his performance was very, very good when you consider he hasn’t started a match since March, when the Dutch league finished.”

Ziyech joined from Ajax for a reported £37 million (S$65.6 million) in the summer but missed the beginning of the season with a knee problem.

The 27-year-old had made three cameos as a substitute before earning his first start in Krasnodar, Russia, some 3,500km from London.

“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,” added Lampard.

“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.”

Chelsea moved up to four points at the top of Group E after two matches, level with Sevilla, who beat Rennes 1-0 in Spain.

Lampard will also speak with his players before deciding whether Jorginho remains the club’s penalty taker after the Italian missed his second spot kick of the season. He also failed to score against Liverpool in the Premier League last month.

“Jorginho has had an incredibly successful rate of scoring penalties in his career, particularly at Chelsea,” the Chelsea boss said.

“My feeling is when you take as many penalties as he does, there can be periods when you miss one, and sometimes there can be periods where you miss one or two.”