Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech inspired by Eden Hazard as he fires Liverpool and Spurs warning
The Moroccan forward suffered a frustrating night on Sunday as Tottenham came to Stamford Bridge and held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw in the London derby with a gritty defensive performance to go top of the Premier League.
It was not 27-year-old Ziyech’s best performance so far in a Chelsea shirt, though none of their forwards shone – but the £38 million former Ajax forward has been steadily growing into his role in Frank Lampard’s team since joining in the summer.
Lampard said before Sunday’s game that he did not want to place the burden on any of his young forwards of having to replace Hazard, who left Stamford Bridge in 2019 after seven dizzying, glorious trophy-winning years, and has since had an unhappy time at Real Madrid.
But Moroccan international Ziyech was already a fan of the brilliant Belgian anyway.
“You always take inspiration from that, how he plays the game. You always look at the small things, how he does stuff – and I can learn a lot from him.”
Despite the frustration of Sunday, Ziyech insists that Chelsea’s expensively assembled squad are convinced they can be title challengers this season.
He added: “Of course we can make a challenge.
“You always have to believe in it. It starts from believing in it and then working every day harder. At the need of the day we will see what it brings.
“But you have to believe it is possible and that is what we are doing. We believe it.”
Ziyech missed the start of the season as he battled to get fit from a knee injury.
He said: “I stayed calm, I always know what I’m capable of doing. I always trust in myself, I’m calm in my head. Peaceful. All the other things will come by themselves.
“I’m happy, I feel good. I feel at home and those things are the most important when you perform on the pitch.”
Sunday’s game was so tight, with neither team giving an inch, it was not easy for either set of forwards, as defences dominated.
Ziyech explained: “It felt like whoever was going to make the mistake would lose the game.
“It was not really a game to play football. It was a tactical game. For their attackers and ours there was no space to play. We had much more of the ball than they had, but it was difficult to find space and create chances.
“Our feelings were mixed. A little disappointed because we were at home and we want to win the game but on the other side you have to look to yourself and say you didn’t create enough.”