Coping with intense focus is nothing new for Hakim Ziyech.
The Chelsea winger was accustomed to being the focal point at Ajax, a team that reached a Champions League semi-final two years ago, so Premier League spotlights are unlikely to be blinding.
It has become cliche within elite football circles for a reason: Ziyech prefers to focus on the internal pressure and motivation while ignoring the external noise.
“Yeah, when you play for a big team there is always pressure, and that will never change,” Ziyech told the match programme for this evening’s game against Sheffield United. “But I was always thinking, ‘Yeah, there is pressure, but people make it bigger than it is.’
“I feel like you have to put it on yourself. Of course, there is pressure on big games, but that is people making that for you – I think you have to put pressure on yourself, not let other people put you under pressure.
“You have to motivate yourself, don’t let other people motivate you, because they’re living their own life and you’re living your own life. That’s the biggest factor that I changed in Ajax, I think.”
That change came from learning to stay relaxed and not become too agitated by criticism.
“Just always stay calm,” Ziyech added. “Try to be calm and, good or bad, there will always be opinions from people. At the end of the day, you have to make sure that, when you go from training or the game, you’re just happy in your life.
“Don’t let other stuff kill your happiness. I think how happy you are outside the pitch is also how happy you are on the pitch.”