'One of the reasons': Chelsea star says he was brought on by Tuchel to change the tie vs Watford
Hakim Ziyech explained that Thomas Tuchel used him off the Chelsea bench against Watford to swing the result back in their favour.
As quoted by the club website, Ziyech shared the part he had to play in the Blues narrow 2-1 Premier League victory at Vicarage Road last night.
The Moroccan replaced Trevoh Chalobah on the hour, who had to make way due to a suspected hamstring injury.
Chalobah at the time was playing in central midfield, following the decision to remove Saul Niguez at half-time.
Tuchel could’ve replaced the academy product with more natural options in Jorginho or Ross Barkley.
Instead, he opted for the more offensive player in Ziyech, recognising that Chelsea needed to up the ante if they were to overcome Watford.
Not for the first time, the German’s tactical tweaks paid off.
With 18 minutes remaining and the scores tied at 1-1, the Blues broke down the Watford right.
Mason Mount – who had earlier put the away side ahead – found Ziyech with a low cross, that was, in turn, smashed past Daniel Bachmann in the Hornets net.
That marked the 28-year-old’s first league goal of the season at his seventh attempt.
“This is one of the reasons why the coach brought me on so I have to be happy to score that decisive goal,’ said the match-winner.
“It was a difficult game from the beginning, not easy from the first minute, and it was not our best day but the most important thing is we got three points.
“All the other stuff is better to forget.”
Chelsea keep on climbing
Ziyech’s strike was more important than just personal relief.
It meant Chelsea collected all three points and therefore maintained their position at the top of the table.
At one stage, their grip on the summit seemed to be slipping, with Liverpool and Manchester City both leading in their respective matches.
The two title-chasers did eventually triumph, but so did the Blues, meaning the race continues to be neck-and-neck.