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Tuchel reveals why Ziyech was benched at Chelsea and how he is finally 'feeling better'

13:24 GMT+4 04/12/2021
Hakim Ziyech Chelsea 2021-22
The Blues boss discusses why the Atlas Lion is good enough to claim a starting role when they visit London Stadium to face the Hammers

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has revealed Hakim Ziyech is in a good place and very much in his selection thoughts ahead of their trip to face West Ham United in a Premier League fixture on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Morocco international has been coming on from the bench to feature for the Blues since recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered back in August in the Uefa Super Cup.

Against Watford in Chelsea’s last league match at Vicarage Road, Ziyech came off the bench to score the winner as the Blues secured a 2-1 win over the Hornets to maintain top spot on the 20-team table.

Chelsea boss Tuchel has discussed the fitness level of the Moroccan star heading into their fixture against the Hammers at London Stadium maintaining the player was in good shape and ready to help the team.

“I like him. I can feel that he feels better now. It took him a long time. He was always very ambitious with his shoulder injury but I could feel that the 100 percent he could give was not the 100 percent of his top level. Now he feels much better and I can feel it,” Tuchel said as quoted by the club’s official website.

“He smiles, he's happy, he is decisive. He had huge influence now from the bench against Leicester and in Watford. We had two matches in between those when he played from the start, against Juventus and Man United.

“Hakim is in a good shape, is in good form and a good state of mind. We want him absolutely to be influential but I will not say if he starts tomorrow or comes from the bench.”

Meanwhile, Ziyech has revealed West Ham will provide a real test when they come up against Chelsea.

“It’s a derby but I look at it like all the other games,’ he added. ‘It will be a difficult one but all the matches in the Premier League are hard. It doesn’t matter if you play West Ham or Watford, you can expect the same thing,” Ziyech said as quoted by the club’s official website.

“They play at home with the crowd behind them but we always rely on our own quality. We know what to expect and we know what to do.”

Ziyech has further revealed his happiness at recovering from the shoulder injury insisting he is now ready to step up for the Blues.

“I had a rough time with this shoulder injury but since I took the strap off, I feel more free,” Ziyech continued. “It was hard because it still blocks your movement a bit.

“Normally I’m used to being free in my body movements and this kind of thing held me back but now I’m feeling free and fresh.

“I just have to keep going with what I’ve been doing in the last weeks and that’s what I’m trying to do for every game. I’m enjoying it because you always want to be decisive with goals and assists.”

Ziyech has so far managed seven appearances for Chelsea in the top-flight and scored one goal against Watford.