The German head coach has justified his decision to leave the Moroccan winger out of the team for the Blues’ latest Premier League fixture
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has explained Hakim Ziyech’s omission from his squad to face Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Ziyech became the first signing of Frank Lampard’s reign when Chelsea reached an agreement to bring the winger in for €40 million (£35m/$50m) from Ajax in February 2019.
The Moroccan joined up with his new team-mates a few months later after seeing out the season at Johan Cruyff ArenA, but had to bide his time before making his debut.
The 27-year-old overcame niggling fitness issues before making his first appearance for the Blues off the bench during the 3-3 draw with Southampton on October 7, and went on to earn a regular spot in Lampard’s squad.
Ziyech now has 16 appearances for Chelsea to his name across all competitions, along with two goals and three assists, but his last outing came with Tuchel sitting in the dugout instead of Lampard.
The German boss was drafted in following a club legend’s sacking at the start of the week, and he named a much-changed line up for the 0-0 draw with Wolves in midweek.
Ziyech played 80 minutes of that contest, but was a surprise absentee from the Blues’ latest squad against Burnley as Tuchel opted to go with a front-three consisting of Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner and Mason Mount.
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The 47-year-old, who was relieved of his managerial duties at Paris Saint-Germain in December, justified his decision in a pre-match interview, telling BT Sport: “He [Ziyech] has been in a bit of overload since five weeks so he has a bit of a risk of getting injured if he plays more than say 30 minutes. For that, we decided to take a break now to go out of the risk zone.”
Ziyech will hope that he is recalled for a crucial London derby encounter against Tottenham on Thursday, which comes three days before Chelsea are due to face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane before they travel to Barnsley in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Tuchel’s side are currently sitting tenth in the Premier League standings, seven points behind fourth-placed Liverpool in the race for Champions League qualification.