Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has revealed the reasoning behind his controversial decision to substitute his sides’ best player Eden Hazard during The Blues 2-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Speaking after the loss, which sees his club slip to fifth in the Premier League table six points behind Jose Mourinho’s side, the Italian coach 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.”
Hazard’s substitution in the 73rd minute seemed to hand the initiative to the home side, and Jesse Lingard scored the winner with a well taken header just two minutes later.
The player himself looked bemused by the decision and the Blues travelling support also voiced their disapproval of their managers decision.
Chelsea now find themselves fighting for a place in the top four, and if they are to lose away to league leaders Manchester City next weekend, they may well be facing the prospect on missing out on Champions League football next year.