Ziyech was one of the players most widely criticised following Saturday’s defeat at Manchester City and the Moroccan, who was making only his eighth league start of the season, had a point to prove at the Amex Stadium.
He gave the visitors the lead against the run of play with a speculative shot from outside the area but barely reacted after hitting the net despite being mobbed by his team-mates.
Hakim Ziyech (middle) was criticised for not celebrating Chelsea’s goal against Brighton
Former Chelsea player Joe Cole said Ziyech’s unenthusiastic reaction ‘doesn’t sit well’
Former Chelsea winger Cole felt Ziyech’s reacted as he did in protest of the few opportunities he has been given this season but was disappointed with the player’s attitude.
‘This is what you play for,’ Cole said on BT Sport. He’s a fantastic talent, he hasn’t hit the ground running in the Premier League as it’s very different to the Dutch league. But the not celebrating… It doesn’t sit well for him as a lad.’
Cole said every player is not happy when playing regularly but celebrating goals was an important part of being a footballer and feeling part of a team.
The strike from outside the area was only Ziyech’s second Premier League goal of the season
‘If he was in my team I’d be saying come on. You know when lads are not happy and they’re not playing. But if I come off the bench and score a goal, it’s a release of energy.’
Former Brighton striker Glenn Murray was a fellow guest on BT’s coverage and he also questioned Ziyech’s reaction.
Murray even felt his lack of enthusiasm may have led to other players in the Chelsea team dropping their energy levels in the game, emphasising that properly celebrating a goal can have a galvanising effect on a team.
‘I was disappointed with the reaction to the goal, I think if you celebrate that with the fans it gives you a buoyancy for the next 10 minutes to go and take the game and put it to bed. That’s what Chelsea needed to do,’ he said.
While Chelsea’s players were relieved to take the lead, Ziyech gave a blank expression
‘With all due respect they’ve dropped four points against a Brighton team who they need to be taking four or six points from easily if they want to be challenging for the title. And against the run of play they got a goal. That was a leg up, you go take the game, you put it to bed. Even with the celebration it’s a flat celebration and it just passes on to teammates doesn’t it?’
Cole agreed, suggesting that Ziyech reacted as he did in order to send a message to Thomas Tuchel but urging the player to focus on his performances instead.
‘When you run up to them [the fans] you wanna celebrate because you’ve worked all week, you’ve done the game plan, bang, you’ve scored a great goal,’ Cole said.
‘He would be thinking it’s a message to the manager but the message is the goal, I should be playing. Enjoy it, you could really galvanise the group here with a 1-0 win in a tough, tough game and you’re out of the slump.
Former Brighton striker Glenn Murray said celebrating the goal would have given Chelsea a lift
‘He’s obviously got things he’s not happy with, but just keep what you’re doing on the pitch, affect the game and you’ll be playing regularly. At Chelsea it’s rare you get players who play in that position who plays every week. You want the lads to just enjoy it a little, take the weight off and go and play.’
However, Cole said he was not overly worried by Ziyech’s reaction but felt the team would benefit from their upcoming trip to play the Club World Cup in the UAE.
‘It’s not concerning, the club are going to CWC and that’ll be a good opportunity for the club to get away because the results have not been what they want and we want.
‘So get away, get the lads together, because this team only six or seven months ago were champions of Europe. They easily won the final against great Manchester City players. There’s still great players in there so they just need to get back on the track and back in the right direction.’
Coach Thomas Tuchel said he did not mind Ziyech’s celebration but just wanted him to score
Chelsea boss Tuchel insisted he was not bothered by Ziyech’s muted reaction to scoring and said he could celebrate however he wished as long as he kept finding the net.
The German also played down Ziyech’s animated discussion with Romelu Lukaku at half-time.
‘I am happy. He can score 20 more and not celebrate I have no problem,’ Tuchel said with a smile before admitting his side were lacking a bit of energy amid a run of only one win in their last seven Premier League games.
‘It is normal that they talk, are not happy and don’t like it if we say we want more from them. Even in the reaction for the goal you can see they are tired. It is relief. That is my feeling of the team just now.’