Thomas Tuchel wants to see more improvement from Hakim Ziyech despite the Morocco international securing Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Malmo on Tuesday.
Having been frustrated during the first half of the Champions League meeting at Eleda Stadion, the holders got the breakthrough 11 minutes after the restart when Ziyech turned in Callum Hudson-Odoi’s excellent cross.
It was Ziyech’s first goal since the UEFA Super Cup against Villarreal in August and only the third he has managed in the Champions League for the Blues in 13 appearances.
The 28-year-old impressed in Sweden, though, managing more shots on target (three) and chances created (five) than any other player on the pitch as Tuchel’s men moved to within a point of a place in the last 16.
His goal also came after he swapped flanks with Hudson-Odoi, whose pace and superb right-footed delivery at last unlocked the Malmo defence.
Tuchel, who would not take credit for that particular tactical tweak, now wants to see Ziyech sharpen his decision-making even further.
“All the credit to my assistant. He had the idea at half-time,” said Tuchel. “We had the feeling that maybe when we enter into the spaces behind their back five, they defended a low block, we would lose seconds if Callum or Hakim had to switch back. We thought maybe we can enter and save important tenths of a second.
“Still, I think there is space to improve for him in decision-making. We always rely on his work rate against the ball. This is also a huge part of his performances. He can still be more clinical.
“He is still not as 100 per cent free as he should be. The players love their freedom in their movement, but I am happy for him and for Callum.”
Chelsea now head into matchday five against Juventus knowing that a draw would be enough to progress.
“We needed the result, we expected the result, we delivered,” said Tuchel, whose side beat Malmo 4-0 at Stamford Bridge on matchday three.
“We had a lot of touches but were maybe not clinical enough yet. We wanted to increase the intensity level in the second half. We were able to use this one moment, this position, then be clinical enough to score and then we had enough chances for a second one.
“The control was on our side. We did not suffer through difficult situations in our box, we never lost concentration.”
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