Thomas Tuchel has attempted to ease tensions with a reportedly disgruntled Hakim Ziyech as he discussed the player’s lack of opportunities since he took charge at Chelsea.
After Frank Lampard’s sudden sacking, Tuchel replaced him at Stamford Bridge last month.
He has performed well thus far, winning five and drawing one of his first six games. That has taken the Blues up to fourth and put them firmly back in contention for Champions League qualification.
But not everybody has been happy under the German tactician. Ziyech, who was signed by Lampard and made 12 appearances for him this term, is one of those who has seen his game time reduced.
The winger has been selected just twice by Tuchel and has played no part in any of Chelsea’s last four league outings.
That has led to some reports that Ziyech is already looking to leave the club. He is understood to be seeking crisis talks with Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia to discuss his situation.
Additionally, the Moroccan does not feel a part of the plans under the former PSG boss.
‘It is my fault’, says Tuchel
But Tuchel has moved to reassure Ziyech that he has done nothing wrong, and explained why he has not featured recently.
In a press conference, Tuchel said: “It is my fault actually, not his. It is my hard decisions at the moment as well for Mason [Mount], Callum [Hudson-Odoi] and for Christian [Pulisic] sometimes in the half positions where we seem the strongest.
“It is the same for Hakim at the moment and for some other players. There were hard decisions to make. It is never easy but it is a good thing, we have quality to make our decisions.
“There are decisions for other players that means Hakim suffers. I can absolutely understand and agree with that. So it is my responsibility and fault in this case that he cannot show more of his potential.
“When I look at the schedule and rhythm for the next games I can be sure that we will need all of our players. Hakim had a good session yesterday and has shown he is ready. When the moment comes we expect the best Hakim Ziyech.
“This is not easy. I can agree and understand but this is how it sometimes is during some moments at a club like Chelsea with a squad that keeps winning.
“Sometimes you have to wait. He is not the only guy to suffer from these decisions and we will turn around and if he takes care and shows he is ready when he is needed. Things will turn around again I am sure.”
Chelsea are next in action in the lunch time kick off on Saturday, when they travel to Southampton. Three points would take them within a point of Leicester and Manchester United until Sunday at least.