Antonio Conte has revealed he chose to take Eden Hazard off against Manchester United because the Belgian was tired.
Conte started Hazard back in his favoured position on the left wing at Old Trafford after deploying the 27-year-old as a ‘false No.9’ days earlier in the 1-1 draw against Barcelona.
The move worked early on as Hazard set up Willian for the opening goal of the Premier League match in the 32nd minute – just as he did against Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Speaking to reporters, Conte said: “It was a tactical decision.
“You have to keep the same performance for 90 minutes. We didn’t have a great balance. Every single player has to try to work with and without the ball, otherwise we lose our balance and then we lose the game.
“His [Hazard’s] energy finished. In the first half he ran a lot, and in the second half he started in the same way, but when I see a player is a bit tired my task is to find a different solution.”
Chelsea’s next game is away to Premier League leaders Manchester City next Sunday.