Date published: Thursday 29th October 2020 1:54
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has singled out Hakim Ziyech for praise after the winger scored against Krasnodar on his full debut for the club.
The Moroccan has come off the bench for the draws against Southampton (3-3), Sevilla (0-0) and Man Utd (0-0).
But he got his first start on Wednesday night and helped Chelsea run out convincing 4-0 winners. They now have four points out of six from their first two Champions League games.
Callum Hudson-Odoi gave the Blues a first-half lead. And goals from Timo Werner, Ziyech and Christian Pulic in the final 15 minutes wrapped up an excellent night.
Lampard was full of compliments about the 27-year-old, who signed from Ajax.
“Hakim Ziyech has worked really hard to be fit, and I was very excited to get his quality into 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 as 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, and he will get better.
“We brought him in to do a job, and maybe people had forgotten about him a bit because we signed him in January and he missed the start of the season.
“But now he has shown that he is here.”
Lampard backs Rudiger
Lampard was also fulsome in his praise of defender Antonio Rudiger.
The German had looked almost certain to leave Stamford Bridge during the recent transfer window.
But he stayed and the Krasnodar game marked his first minutes of the season.
“I am very pleased with the performance of Rudiger and (Kurt) Zouma,” said the Chelsea boss. “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 ever since I’ve been here, and 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.”
Chelsea’s defence has come in for fierce criticism in the early weeks of the season. They shipped three goals against both West Brom and Southampton, drawing both games 3-3.
But the shutout against Krasnodar was their third straight clean sheet following 0-0 draws against Sevilla and Man Utd.