Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has said he expects Hakim Ziyech to prove his value after the Moroccan star scored his first goal for the club in Wednesday’s 4-0 win away to Krasnodar in the Champions League.
Jorginho missed a penalty for Chelsea but Callum Hudson-Odoi put the Blues in front before halftime after a mistake by Krasnodar goalkeeper Matvei Safonov.
Timo Werner smashed in a spot-kick on 76 minutes to double Chelsea’s lead, with Ziyech and Christian Pulisic adding late goals in Russia.
“Hakim Ziyech has worked really hard to be fit, and I was very excited to get his quality in the team,” said Lampard.
“I thought his performance was very, very good when you consider he hasn’t started a match since March, when the Dutch league finished.”
Ziyech joined from Ajax for a reported £37 million ($48 million) in the summer but missed the beginning of the season with a knee problem.
The 27-year-old had made three cameos as a substitute before earning his first start in Krasnodar – a journey of some 3 500 kilometres from London.
“It’s been frustrating for him and for us. His injury has meant he hasn’t been able to start, but what I’ve seen in training and what I knew we were signing is a player of immense quality with personality to receive the ball and find assists and goals,” said Lampard.
“We saw a lot of glimpses of that today, and he will get better.
“We brought him in to do a job, maybe people have forgotten a bit because we signed him in January and he missed the start of the season, but tonight he showed he is here.”
Chelsea moved up to four points at the top of Group E after two matches, level with Sevilla who beat Rennes 1-0 in Spain.
Antonio Rudiger made his first appearance of the season for Chelsea, lining up alongside Kurt Zouma in central defence as Thiago Silva was rested.
Krasnodar drew their opening game of the group in Rennes last week, and Daniil Utkin forced Edouard Mendy to dive full-length to tip behind his curling shot inside five minutes.
Chelsea were awarded a penalty when Werner was clipped by Brazilian defender Kaio, but Jorginho’s effort hit the post and bounced off Safonov before Krasnodar scrambled clear.
Hudson-Odoi made the most of his opportunity playing behind Werner, and benefitted from a goalkeeping error to break the deadlock on 37 minutes.
The England international’s low drive looked routine for Safonov, who was excellent in Krasnodar’s opening game, but the Russia Under-21 ‘keeper allowed the ball to slip through his grasp.
Yuri Gazinski struck the bar for Krasnodar as he volleyed into the ground at a corner 10 minutes into the second half.
Chelsea then earned a second penalty when Aleksandr Martynovich was harshly penalised for a handball as he sought to block an attempt from Pulisic.
With Jorginho having been substituted, Werner took over spot-kick duties and lashed the ball beyond Safonov.
Krasnodar were only able to name five outfield players on the bench, Magomed Suleymanov the oldest among them at just 20.
The visitors took advantage of their tiring opponents as some Pulisic trickery allowed Werner to lay off to Ziyech, who tucked a neat finish beyond a crowd of defenders.
Pulisic delivered a fourth in the final minute when he combined with Tammy Abraham before shooting through the legs of Safonov.