Frank Lampard impressed by inner confidence of Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech

Frank Lampard impressed by inner confidence of Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech

Frank Lampard has said he loves Hakim Ziyech’s “inner confidence” and believes the Moroccan will boost Chelsea’s ability to break down defensive opponents.

Chelsea lacked invention last season and hope Ziyech, who had to wait to make his debut after sustaining a knee injury in pre-season, will increase their creative threat. The former Ajax playmaker impressed on his first start against Krasnodar in the Champions League on Wednesday, scoring in a 4-0 win and showing signs of the personality that has convinced Lampard of the 26-year-old’s ability to succeed in the Premier League.

“He can find a pass and sometimes last season I felt we lacked that when we were playing against low-block defences,” Chelsea’s manager said. “We saw a bit of his quality and personality against Krasnodar. The idea of receiving the ball and turning, facing forward and finding that pass before teams are set, that is what I’m excited about to see from Hakim.

“I really like him as a personality. I had conversations with him very early when we signed him and was struck by his confidence. There is an inner confidence which I love. We need players with confidence and personality who believe they should be here. He has been an absolute dream to work with.”

Ziyech starred when Ajax reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2019 and Lampard feels the £37m signing’s bravery on the ball will improve Chelsea, who visit Burnley on Saturday. “People always think that personality is about getting your foot in, shouting and fighting to the end,” he said. “Of course you require that in football, but sometimes personality is receiving the ball in tight areas when others don’t want to and make things happen … Hakim showed that and part of the reason he settled is because of his mindset.”

Lampard praised Antonio Rüdiger for showing a good attitude after losing his place. The centre-back returned against Krasnodar and Lampard wants to make sure his players remain happy when on the sidelines.

“I’m very conscious of it because to win anything you need to have a tight-knit squad,” he said. “We have five centre-backs and it’s not necessarily easy to manage … Toni coming in and training well over the past couple of weeks and coming in and performing with a level of concentration and control is a fantastic example for any player that does not play so much.”