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Graham Potter warns Hakim Ziyech to expect more time on Chelsea bench despite playmaker’s World Cup exploits with Morocco

HAKIM ZIYECH has yet to prove himself at Chelsea despite his World Cup prowess.

The winger was brought down to earth with a bump after starring for Morocco en route to the semi-finals.


Hakim Ziyech struggled to buy time with ChelseaCredit: AFP
Graham Potter hinted that Ziyech might have to be patient


Graham Potter hinted that Ziyech might have to be patientCredit: PA

Ziyech has found it difficult to keep a place under boss Graham Potter at Stamford Bridge and he is constantly linked with a move to ease his pain.

Still, he started each of his country’s seven matches in Qatar as they proved to be the dark horses of the tournament by reaching the last four.

Potter said: “He played against Man City, came against Newcastle. Where he was when we first arrived was a bit far from the first XI.

“He was involved in the games and came into the first game as a substitute. We know his qualities, we love him as a player, he plays between the lines with fantastic quality like we saw in the World Cup.

“At Chelsea there are always good players who are not in the starting XI and have to be patient.

“I’m delighted for him, we stayed in touch with him throughout the World Cup. I’m happy for him that he had playing time, happy for him to have helped his team, he’s a good guy and he has quality.

Ziyech, 29, will be one of the last two members of Chelsea’s sizeable World Cup contingent to report for duty after the tournament.

Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic, whom he faced in the third and fourth place play-offs, is also allowed time out for their long run.


The rest are back in training alongside those who missed out through selection or injury.

Right-back Reece James played more than an hour of a behind-closed-doors friendly at Brentford on Tuesday as Chelsea prepare for their Premier League return against Bournemouth on the 27th.

Potter could face a goalkeeping dilemma with Senegal number one Edouard Mendy just back in training and rival Kepa Arrizabalaga nearing the end of his rehabilitation from a long foot injury.

Chelsea spent a week earlier this month in Abu Dhabi with their crocks and non-internationals training in the hot weather.

Potter said: “We used the time as best we could. The first days we had four players to work with. The ideal would have been to play against Bournemouth with five, that would be good, but we can’t.

“We used the young players, we brought ideas back, tried to consolidate the learning and create more links with the people at the club.

“You forget that you have this intense period and you always get to know everyone around the building. We could do that, we had a really good period together so that helped. The feeling is positive so we are waiting for the game impatiently.


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