Potter hails Ziyech displays but warns Morocco’s World Cup star must be patient


Hakim Ziyech was one of the unexpected stars of the World Cup, but the 29-year-old has struggled for minutes at Chelsea this season.

Graham Potter was delighted to see Hakim Ziyech show his quality at the World Cup, but the Chelsea head coach says there will always be talented players out of favour at Stamford Bridge.

Ziyech was one of the stars of the tournament as Morocco became the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in Qatar, playing a significant role in several devastating counter-attacks from the Atlas Lions.

However, the tricky winger has enjoyed limited time on the pitch in the Premier League this season, starting just 148 minutes in total and making just one appearance.

Ziyech’s strong performances in Qatar have led to suggestions he could leave Chelsea in search of regular game time, but Potter is still hoping he can excel at Stamford Bridge.

“Where he was when we first came in, he was out of the starting eleven but he was participating in games,” Potter said on Friday.

“We know his qualities, we like him as a player. He plays between the lines and has fantastic quality and we saw that at the World Cup.

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

“I’m happy for him that he helped his team; I kept in touch with him throughout the World Cup.”

Ziyech’s Morocco lost to Mateo Kovačić’s Croatia in the play-off for third place and both players will sit out Chelsea’s Premier League meeting with Bournemouth on Tuesday.

“It’s a real mix in terms of when they’ve been taken out and how much they’ve played. They’ve come back on their own terms,” ​​Potter said of his returning World Cup stars.

“They came back in a really good way. We’re still waiting for Hakim and Mateo. Obviously, they’ve come a long way with the playoffs for third place.”

“Those two are in high demand so it was important to give them some time. They won’t be available for the game. Everyone else has come back and had a few days of training.”

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