Frank Lampard has hailed the instant impact of Chelsea playmaker Hakim Ziyech following his £40 million move from Ajax in the summer.
Chelsea completed a deal for Ziyech back in February, with the Moroccan joining his new teammates at the opening of the summer transfer window.
However, with the Dutch Eredivisie season having been curtailed back in April, the 27-year-old was forced to wait until mid-October for his debut as he rebuilt his fitness and overcame a pre-season injury.
Since then though, the Blues number 22 has taken to life in the Premier League like a duck to water, scoring one goal and providing three assists in just five league outings to date.
Speaking about his summer signing, Frank Lampard has admitted he has been ‘absolutely impressed’ with Ziyech in all aspects of his work, both on and off the pitch.
“He’s made a great impact,” Lampard said at his pre-match press conference. “I love working with him because he’s a player that trains very well, affects people around him, has great individual talent, works in the gym, works on his rehab. So I’ve been absolutely impressed with him in every sense since he’s been at the club and he’s delivered on the pitch and in a short space of time.
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“I expect more. Hopefully we can all expect more because he’s shown real quality to show that he’s become accustomed to the league very quickly.
“These are the reasons I brought him to the club. I thought he could be a real talent to bring here and someone who brings something different in his style and the way he plays. So far he’s shown that and I expect him to show more.”
Ziyech’s influence on the Chelsea side has seen some suggest that he could have a similar impact to that of former club great, Eden Hazard, who won two Premier League titles during his time in England, winning the club’s player of the year award four times in six seasons.
However, Lampard was keen to avoid putting pressure on any of his players by making such comparisons, insisting his side become ‘more efficient as a team’ rather than relying on just one player.
“I think it is very hard to fill one-for-one a player of Eden Hazard’s talents,” Lampard said. “His input at the club was huge. It’s an impact relative to the kind that Harry Kane has had with goals and assists they make for their team.
“To lose that, you have to try to find a way around it. With the transfer ban last year, it was more about the younger players coming in and how we could become more efficient as a team. I think we made really good steps on that front and now we have brought players in but I would hate to give any of them the job or idea of ‘You must replace Eden’.”
Lampard will be hoping Ziyech and the rest of his Chelsea side are on form when they take on Jose Mourinho’s Spurs side at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.
See also – Chelsea v Spurs – Combined XI