LONDON • Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believes Hakim Ziyech has added a new dimension to their attack after the Morocco international’s masterful performance in Saturday’s 4-1 Premier League win over Sheffield United.
Ziyech, who joined Chelsea from Ajax in the close-season for a reported €40 million (S$64 million), was a constant threat and claimed two assists as Lampard’s side won their fourth consecutive game in all competitions.
The 27-year-old winger has been a key part of their run, having scored twice and provided three assists in seven games, and Lampard is impressed at how quickly Ziyech has settled into life at Stamford Bridge.
“He’s a top-class player,” he told reporters. “He’s had a long time out since the Dutch league finished and then he had an injury, so to hit the ground running the way he has is a huge plus for us.
“He has given us an extra edge and a different threat… He has an ability to find the last pass or cross, make assists and break teams that have a low block down… He sees the pass and has no fear to try it.
“He exudes confidences in how much he wants to receive the ball and be the important player. He also has great work ethic so he is a complete player. He’s been a big plus and I expect there is a lot more to come from him.”
Lampard also feels that his summer splurge of over £200 million (S$354.7 million) to turn his side into title challengers is paying dividends.
“The players we brought in, we brought in to improve,” said the Blues great, who in his maiden season led the team to fourth place.
“People expect it to come on day one. It’s not like that, it’s a work in progress. You saw a lot of it today, there are great signs but we have to keep going.”
Goals by Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva – his first since arriving in the summer on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain – and Timo Werner helped the Blues overwhelm bottom side United, but Lampard warned his players to guard against complacency.
“It was our best performance of the season. We are in a good place, but the level set by Manchester City and Liverpool in the last few years means we have to be in that place every game,” he added.
Chelsea goals Hakim Ziyech has been involved in (two goals, three assists).
“At the start of the season, we had new players, the lack of preseason, injuries, but now we are seeing some of the work. I’m the first to keep my feet on the ground. Every game is challenging.”
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS