Frank Lampard admits Chelsea have encountered Hakim Ziyech issue in training

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard admits COVID-19 regulations have made it difficult for Hakim Ziyech to gain full match fitness.

The £33million summer signing from Ajax has endured a slow start to life at Stamford Bridge thanks to a knee injury, which kept him out of the Blues' first four league fixtures.

The Morocco international made his debut for the west Londoners in last weekend's 3-3 draw with Southampton and played just under half an hour in their Champions League opener against Sevilla on Tuesday night.

And Lampard has attributed the winger's lack of game time to the ongoing coronavirus regulations, which prohibits members of the first team from training with the club's Under-23s.

"It’s been very difficult to integrate him," Lampard said of Ziyech. "We have a bubble here at Cobham so we can’t play against the Under-23s or bring over a lot of kids to replicate 11 vs 11 games on big-sized pitches, which is generally where you would want someone to be working when they’ve not played for five or six months off.

"We miss that and we have to find the right way to give Hakim and others in the squad minutes as quickly as we can."

Despite Ziyech's slower than expected start to his Chelsea career, Lampard has been impressed by the Moroccan's attitude and mentality towards training.

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  1. Manchester United (Adidas) – £75m-a-season
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  3. Manchester City (Puma) – £65m-a-season
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"When I look at the squad I want to help grow the ideas of leaders and personalities within the group," the former Blues midfielder said.

"Over the course of a long, difficult season there will be moments when you rely on them to help you in tough times, and to push the good times along.

"You can’t get on in any elite sport without people with personality and character in the team. ‘I have seen that in Hakim and Edu Mendy as soon as they came through the door.

"Hakim has confidence about him, his fitness is coming individually, he still needs a bit of time to get his match fitness now his injury is cleared up, but both of those will be great additions on that front.

"I encourage personality and communication between the players, we need more of that."

Ziyech and his Chelsea team-mates will be back in action on Saturday evening, travelling to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United.

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