Hakim Ziyech not bothered by Morocco snub for Africa Cup of Nations as Chelsea reap benefits: ‘I don’t care’

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 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech says he does not care about being left out of the Morocco squad for this month’s Africa Cup of Nations.

The Blues have lost Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to the tournament but were handed a boost when Ziyech was not included in Vahid Halilhodzic’s squad last month following a reported bust-up with the Morocco coach.

Ziyech has not played for his country since June and missed all six of their World Cup qualifiers in the autumn.

The winger showed Morocco what they are missing with a sublime display in last night's 2-0 win over Tottenham in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge.

Asked about his omission after the game, Ziyech said: "I'm doing my job and trying to perform as best as I can. All the other stuff that’s going around outside of football, it's not really important at the moment. At this point, I don't really care to be honest.”

After Kai Havertz had opened the scoring last night, it was Ziyech’s free-kick that saw Chelsea double their lead before half-time, causing havoc in the Spurs ranks as Japhet Tanganga’s attempted clearance deflected off Ben Davies and past Hugo Lloris.

The 28-year-old might have ended the night with a couple of assists to boot, Romelu Lukaku glancing just wide from his cross before Timo Werner failed to lob Lloris when getting on the end of an outrageous driven pass.

The missed chances proved a point of frustration for Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, whose side could have been out of sight going into next week’s return leg at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after a dominant display.

Hakim Ziyech did not earn a recall to the Morocco squad for the Africa Cup of Nations (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Hakim Ziyech did not earn a recall to the Morocco squad for the Africa Cup of Nations (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

“We could've created a bigger cushion,” Tuchel said. “Yes, it was possible. We created a lot and were very strong because it is so hard to create against Tottenham as we've seen in the last few games.

"In the second half, we created a lot, big chances to have a third or fourth goal. Everybody knows the game isn't decided and we have to arrive at full focus and top shape again.

”We will need another 90 minutes of top-quality football if we want to go through to Wembley.”

The German also confirmed that Havertz suffered a grim-looking broken finger while scoring the opener, which eventually forced him off at half-time, but there was better news regarding captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who left the field late on because of cramp, rather than any more serious injury.

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