Frank Lampard insists he spotted some encouraging signs from Hakim Ziyech after the summer signing from Ajax belatedly made his Chelsea debut in Saturday’s ultimately disappointing 3-3 draw against Southampton.
Ziyech suffered a knee injury during a pre-season friendly against Brighton at the start of August and has been forced to wait patiently to make his Premier League bow.
The Morocco international, who featured for his country last week, was introduced as a second-half substitute with 18 minutes remaining at Stamford Bridge and Lampard’s expensively assembled side leading 3-2.
Southampton, who dominated large spells of the second period, deservedly grabbed a late equaliser through Jannik Vestergaard’s deft header, but Lampard is confident Ziyech will have benefited from his first brief taste of English football.
He said: ‘It’s hard, it’s hard because we are trying to find minutes for him.
He’s not ready to start a game yet, he’s pretty open about that in how he feels.
‘But with Premier League games it’s hard to make those sorts of judgments going into a game. He came on for his 20 minutes or so and think he showed his moments of class and calmness on the ball which you are going to see more of.
‘But it’s unfortunate for us he comes on and obviously unfortunate for us he comes on and we don’t win the game.’
The result represented Chelsea’s second 3-3 draw of the season so far and overall they have conceded nine times in their five matches so far.
‘You go two goals up you want to finish it off,’ Lampard added. ‘It was the best we’ve played this season for sure at this stage. But Southampton are a good side.
‘They put pressure on us off the ball. They put us under pressure after the first goal. My message at half-time was that the goal shouldn’t change too much. We never got to the same levels in the second half. We can do better.’