Graham Potter has told Morocco World Cup star Hakim Ziyech to remain patient for an opportunity to salvage his Chelsea career.
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The former Ajax player has been reduced to a bit-part role under Thomas Tuchel’s successor and is yet to start a Premier League match since the change of management in September.
Indeed, Ziyech has played only three games since Potter took over but made light of that lack of game time at the World Cup where his displays helped the Atlas Lions become the first ever African side to reach a semi-final.
The 29-year-old has been linked with a transfer move to Serie A champions AC Milan in recent months while reports have also claimed he is interested in a return to Ajax.
Potter, however, says the winger has the talent necessary to become a vital part of his short and long-term plans, but he will need to bide his time given the huge competition for places.
He said: ‘He’s been a little bit away from the first XI but he’s been involved in the games.
‘He came on in the first game as a sub. We know his qualities, we like him as a player, he plays in between the lines ,has fantastic qualities which we saw at the World Cup.
‘We can speak a lot but the chances are there are always good players who aren’t in the starting XI you have to be patient.
‘I’m delighted for him, I kept in touch with him over the World Cup. I’m delighted for him that he got the game time and helped his team. ‘He’s a good guy and he’s got quality.’
Potter, meanwhile, refused to be drawn on Edouard Mendy’s situation amid reports that the Senegalese star was unhappy having received a contract offer that he is reported to have branded ‘disrespectful’.
‘It’s not my place to speak publicly about player’s contract situation,’ said Potter. ‘That’s between them and the club.’