Arsenal legend Petit reveals what advice he gave ‘miserable’ Chelsea star over Stamford Bridge future

Joe Williams
Ex-Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit

Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit has urged Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech to “fight and show some pride” on his return to Premier League action.

The Morocco international moved to Stamford Bridge from Dutch giants Ajax in 2020 for a fee around €40m but things haven’t quite gone to plan for Ziyech.

Ziyech only started 29 Premier League matches in his first two seasons at the club combined with six goals and six assists during that period.

And it hasn’t got any better this season either with the 29-year-old managing just a single Premier League start in a 2-1 loss to Southampton at the end of August.

Ziyech was brilliant at the World Cup as Morocco shocked the world to reach the semi-finals and eventually finish fourth in Qatar.

And former Chelsea midfielder Petit has revealed a conversation he had with Ziyech before the World Cup in which he encouraged him to “fight” for his place in west London.

“When Arsenal beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge before the World Cup [in early November], I was working on French television and was on the pitch when I saw Hakim Ziyech running on his own,” Petit told Mega Casino.

“During a break from filming I said to him: ‘Hakim, I don’t recognise you. Where is the player we know? Are you going to stay like this forever, sitting on the bench with terrible body language? You look so miserable.

“‘You need to come back to the player we saw at Ajax. You’re a world-class player, you need your confidence back. Do yourself a favour and fight. Don’t accept the critics’ reality.

“‘So many people have criticised you, you need to fight and show some pride. That is the definition of a sportsman. Show some more respect for yourself and don’t accept this situation. Fight.’”

“He had a difficult relationship with Morocco, but then everything went right at the World Cup. If you want to be a top player, you need to do things the right way.”

Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol doubts that Chelsea boss Graham Potter will make him a regular at Stamford Bridge on his return despite his brilliant World Cup displays.

“I would suggest he (Potter) probably knows everything about Ziyech he needs to know,” Nicol told ESPN.

“It will be more about how he, in particular, fits into what Potter wants to do at Chelsea, as opposed to what he’s done with Morocco.

“The clubs are not going to change the way they play to suit one person. It’s an individual thing for Ziyech, the World Cup, because it’s not going to change anything at his club.”

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