Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has star who can be Blues’ own Harry Kane or Mohamed Salah

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has a player who can “pick a lock” like Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah can for Tottenham and Liverpool in Hakim Ziyech, reckons Pat Nevin.

Ziyech started in behind Olivier Giroud alongside Mason Mount in the goalless Premier League draw with Manchester United at the weekend.

But the attacking midfielder failed to take his opportunity with a disappointing 77-minute showing against the Red Devils.

The Morocco international had been an unused substitute in three of the Blues’ previous four league games having come on to operate as a right-sided attacker against Southampton in the game before United.

The 27-year-old is still seeking to truly establish himself at Stamford Bridge with his campaign having been interrupted by knee and hip injuries.

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Ziyech found form under Tuchel’s predecessor Frank Lampard in October, scoring twice and providing three assists in three successive matches against Burnley, Krasnodar and Sheffield United.

But a hip problem forced him out in early December and he has only made four league starts since coming off the bench against Leeds in a win which took Chelsea top on December 5.

Yet Nevin thinks the former Ajax creator-in-chief has the playmaking abilities to do what Kane does for Spurs and Salah does for Liverpool by finding a way through resolute defences.

And the ex-Blues winger believes Chelsea fans will truly be able to form an opinion of Ziyech in the 2021-22 campaign next term.

“I would say Chelsea’s problems are more the creative guy, the guy who can pick a lock,” Nevin told Irish YouTube channel Off The Ball.

“Manchester City’s got those guys. Salah’s going to do that for you. Harry Kane’s grown into that. All the top teams have that player.

“Ziyech is the one, but he’s absolutely nowhere near playing well enough or been fit enough for long enough.

“Ziyech is the one, 100 per cent. He’s not done it in the Premier League for a variety of reasons.

“It will probably be next season before we find out if he’s good enough to do that.”

Speaking last month, Tuchel admitted that Ziyech – signed from Dutch giants Ajax for around £33m – needs more time to continue adjusting in west London.

“For me, it’s clear he needs to adapt to this kind of football, this kind of league,” the German coach said.

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“He’s come from a strong Ajax squad but they were the benchmark in the league. And it’s not the same intensity and it’s not the same competition as it is here.

“But he’s adapting, and he has the certain quality to decide matches and the certain quality to do the unexpected, which can give us an extra twist in any game and on any level.

“He proved that with Ajax and of course we want to push him to the same level of performance that he showed there, and this is our job.”

Ziyech has made 22 appearances across all competitions so far this season, scoring twice and providing four assists, while predominantly playing from the right flank.

He is looking to grow into the creative fulcrum he was for Ajax, having supplied eight goals and 21 assists last year in Holland after 21 goals and 24 assists the season before that in 2018-19.

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