Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has admitted he has not given winger Hakim Ziyech enough opportunities to strut his stuff since his arrival at Stamford Bridge.
After starting in Tuchel’s first game, the 0-0 draw with Wolves, Ziyech has not featured at all in the Premier League, instead being forced to settle for an appearance in the FA Cup triumph against Barnsley.
Ziyech struggled to impress against the second-tier side, and Tuchel admitted that it’s tough to find room for the Moroccan in a team which also features Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic.
“It’s my fault, actually. It’s not his fault,” Tuchel said (via Sky Sports News) when asked whether Ziyech’s poor form was to blame for his lack of minutes. “It’s my decisions. It’s the same for some other players – there were some hard decisions to make. This is a good thing – it means we have quality.
“There are some decisions for other players that means Hakim suffers a little bit. I can absolutely understand and agree with that, so it’s my responsibility and my fault that he cannot show more of his potential. But when I look at the schedule we can be sure that we need all of our players.
“No matter how hard times are for you personally, I cannot say one bad thing for Hakim. He’s working hard and he needs to show that he’s ready because when the moment comes – I cannot tell you when the moment comes – but we expect the best Hakim Ziyech.
“This is not easy, I can admit, but this is how it sometimes is in a club like Chelsea with a squad that keeps winning. Sometimes you have to wait. Things will turn around if he takes care that he is in shape, in the right mood and ready when he’s needed.”
Ziyech wasn’t the only player under scrutiny as Tuchel also defended Pulisic, who is yet to make the kind of impact many had hoped he would under the manager who gave him his breakthrough at Borussia Dortmund.
“He proved he has the level to be a Chelsea regular and have a big impact in this club,” Tuchel continued. “It’s the challenge now to improve and maintain the level.
“We are not concerned (by his injury struggles), the medical department is on that. The main thing for Christian is to stay positive, keep the head up and be ready, because he can have a big impact. There are absolutely no decisions made for summer – there’s simply no time for that in the moment and today there is no need.”