Thomas Tuchel told to start ‘Chelsea’s Riyad Mahrez’ against Real Madrid

Hakim Ziyech has endured a mixed debut season in West London, struggling to nail down a regular place in the side but popping up with some important goals for Thomas Tuchel’s team.

The highlight of the Moroccan’s season is undoubtedly his strike that saw Chelsea beat Manchester City 1-0 at Wembley to ensure a place in the FA Cup final later this month.

However, he has been forced to face lengthy spells on the side-lines, limited to cameo appearances from the bench particularly under former boss Frank Lampard.

Former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf has called on Tuchel to deploy Ziyech on the right side of midfield in a bid to unlock the kind of potential which saw the Blues part ways with £33m for the Morocco-international from Ajax.

Talking to ESPN about the midfielder, Leboeuf said: “I’m concerned about Hakim Ziyech. If he plays, why doesn’t he [Tuchel] put him on the right?

“I saw him today very frustrated when he came off after playing like a number 10. I don’t think that’s his real position.

“Tuchel really has to think that Ziyech has to play on the right side. It’s like [Riyad] Mahrez, he’s a copy-cat of Mahrez.

“I don’t see [Pep] Guardiola putting Mahrez in another position than on the right side.”

Ziyech struggled to exert his influence during the 2-0 home win over local rivals Fulham, and was hauled off just after the hour mark for N’Golo Kante.

The fact Ziyech was handed a start was more surprising, a luxury he has only been granted on 14 occasions in the Premier League this season.

Tuchel has previously spoken highly of Ziyech and his ability, talking to MailOnline following the FA Cup semi-final victory he said: “Hakim was very strong against Liverpool and Atletico in the Champions League, but sometimes we have had a different approach with more runners while he is more a dribbler, a passer, a guy who turns in the pockets.

“Decisions are never personal — sometimes it is the players’ characteristics. He showed me he is ready when he has come off the bench, and from what I saw in training. That is the most important thing.”

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