Frank Lampard Reveals Hakim Ziyech Is Close to First Chelsea Start

Hakim Ziyech
Hakim Ziyech is close to full fitness | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has revealed that summer signing Hakim Ziyech is almost fit enough to start his first game for the club.

Ziyech agreed to move to Stamford Bridge back in Feburary and arrived in July, only to pick up an injury during pre-season which forced him into a period on the sidelines.

Hakim ZiyechHakim Ziyech
Ziyech’s start to life in London has been slow | Michael Regan/Getty Images

The Morocco international has since managed three appearances in all competitions – with his longest cameo being his 28 minutes in the 0-0 draw with Sevilla – but Lampard told the club’s official website that it won’t be long before Ziyech is in the starting lineup.

“It is normal it will take some time for the relationships in the side to form, whether we want to play the ball in behind or to feet,” he began. “We are in such an early part of the season and I know the qualities and the reasons we brought Timo [Werner] and Kai [Havertz] into the club.

“I know the qualities we already have there and Hakim Ziyech is now looking like he is coming close to starting a game with his fitness. I am very happy with the players.”

Frank LampardFrank Lampard
Lampard is keen to see what Ziyech can do from the start | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

The boss was answering questions about Chelsea’s recent form, which has seen them keep two consecutive clean sheets (just the fourth time Lampard’s Blues have managed that) but also failed to score in their last two games.

Lampard was adamant that he is not concerned by the team’s lacklustre attack and is instead delighted to see his team finally showcase their defensive capabilities.

“Defending for me at this level when you have individual players with good quality is about concentration,” he added. “Concentration is what defines defending in top players generally.

Thiago SilvaThiago Silva
Thiago Silva has impressed | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

“Thiago Silva on Saturday was a great example of a defender who concentrates at every moment of a game, not just to affect things himself but to affect those around him. That was a big plus.

“The balance is something we will constantly work on. We got in nice areas at certain times. We didn’t have the usual spark that we have seen from Timo and Kai already, or what Christian [Pulisic] can do, but I will take positives in that we defended very well and had at times good control, but did not have the absolute penetration we normally have.”

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!