'Really sharp': Hakim Ziyech says Chelsea teammate looked lively against Tottenham last night

Hakim Ziyech praised Romelu Lukaku’s energy and enthusiasm for Chelsea against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup semi-final yesterday. 

Speaking to Jan Aage Fjortoft after the Blues beat their London rivals 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, Ziyech sent some kind words to his under-fire teammate.

All eyes on Lukaku

Pretty much all of the pre-match build-up was centred around the Belgium international.

Would he be in the squad? How would the home crowd react to him?

Both questions were answered pretty quickly.

Not only did Lukaku travel to the game, but he was also instantly thrown back into the starting line-up.

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

As for the response from supporters, they became the bigger entity and accepted the striker’s return to the fold.

Romelu’s return

The 28-year-old did not reward the relatively warm reception with a goal, but he put in a decent shift whilst leading the line.

He could’ve opened the scoring within the opening few minutes, but decided to try set-up Kai Havertz rather than take a shot himself.

Perhaps the events of the past couple of days were still lingering in his mind.

Yet, Ziyech explained that the squad had tried to help Lukaku out of the sticky situation he’d found himself in.

“The only thing we can do is support and make him don’t think about other things, just the game,” said the Moroccan, who was excellent last night.  

Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

“That’s what I think we did the last couple of days.  Like I said, that’s why we are teammates, to support each other.

“I think even him he was really sharp today and had a good performance.”

How did Lukaku do vs Tottenham?

It was not a vintage display from Lukaku by any means.

His best chance at opening his League Cup account for the campaign arrived in the form of a header that just flashed wide of the post.

Considering the centre-forward’s last two goals for Chelsea have both come from his cranium, this went down as a wasted opportunity.

According to WhoScored.com, he only managed 26 touches; goalkeeper Kepa Arrizbalaga (36) and substitute Mateo Kovacic (28) had more.

Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

Lukaku also had the second-lowest passing accuracy (81.8%) of any Chelsea player, ranking just above Harvey Vale (80%).

However, the Belgian never gave up the fight, chased pretty much every loose ball and held off Davinson Sanchez for most of the evening.

Hopefully, this can be a springboard for the number nine to kick on again and help the Blues to a strong finish in the campaign.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.