‘It was very difficult to integrate him’: Frank Lampard says it was difficult to get £ 36 million over the summer to get Hakim Ziyech match-fit after knee injury due to coronavirus guidelines
- Hakim Ziyech sustained a knee injury during a pre-season game against Brighton
- Chelsea’s £ 36 million summer break from Ajax has recovered, but not quite fit yet
- He played during Chelsea’s last two games with Southampton and Sevilla
- Boss Frank Lampard says it was difficult to get Ziyech back into the squad
Frank Lampard has admitted it was ‘difficult’ to integrate Hakim Ziyech into the Chelsea team.
The £ 36 million summer contract has only played 46 minutes so far this season due to a knee injury he sustained in a pre-season game with Brighton.
Ziyech is back in training and has played in the club’s last two games against Southampton and Sevilla, but his progress towards fitness has been hampered by Covid-19 restrictions.
Hakim Ziyech played just 46 minutes after recovering from a knee injury prior to the season
Frank Lampard admits that it was difficult to ‘integrate’ the Moroccan back into the team
Chelsea’s coronavirus bubbles prevent the first-team squad from mingling with the Under-23s in behind-closed-door matches.
During his pre-match conference ahead of their match with Manchester United, Lampard said: ‘It was very difficult to integrate him.
‘We have a bubble here at Cobham, so we can’t play against the Under-23s or get a lot of kids to replicate 11v11 games on big fields, which is usually where you’d want someone to work when they already have five or not played for six months.
“We miss that and we have to find the right way to give Hakim and others in the selection minutes as quickly as possible.”
After five games, Chelsea are ninth in the Premier League table and they hope to include Ziyech more prominently as they try to get a little nudge at the top of the table.
Lampard has praised the Moroccan international for his mentality in the fight to get back to full fitness.
He said, “When I look at the squad, I want to help grow the ideas of leaders and personalities within the group.
Over the course of a long, difficult season, there will be times when you rely on it to help you through difficult times and to carry on the good times.
Covid-19 restrictions mean Chelsea’s first team cannot play against their U23s in exhibition games
‘You can’t practice top sport without people with personality and character in the team.
‘I saw that with Hakim and Edu (Edouard) Mendy as soon as they came through the door.
Hakim is confident in him, his fitness comes on individually, he still needs some time to get his competition fitness up now that his injury is resolved, but those will both be great additions on that front.
“I encourage personality and communication between the players, we need more of that.”