CHELSEA boss Antonio Conte says fatigue hurt his team as they were held to a goalless draw by 10-man Leicester.
Chelsea made just one change from Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal with Gary Cahill coming in for Andreas Christensen.
Cahill was then forced off after 30 minutes with a hamstring problem and Christensen came on in his place.
And the Blues struggled throughout to break down their opponents even though they were reduced to 10 men when Ben Chilwell was shown a second yellow card in the 68th minute.
After the match, Conte said his players were tired following their efforts in midweek against Arsenal.
Conte told Match of the Day: “I think we played with a lot of top players against Arsenal, and then again today against a very good team.
“I think a lot of our players were tired.
“In the first half Leicester ran more than us, they played better than us.
“But we knew we were playing against a good opponent, maybe the worst opponent we could have played in this moment. We suffered a lot in the first half.
Antonio Conte defended his decision to bring Eden Hazard off with 30 minutes remaining of Chelsea‘s goalless draw with Leicester.
Asked about his decision to bring Hazard and Cesc Fabregas off, Conte explained: ‘I saw them and they were very tired.’
Conte stressed that ‘tiredness’ impacted his team following their Carabao Cup clash with Arsenal on Wednesday evening. He added:
‘I think that honestly that to find an excuse or alibi we paid a lot for the Arsenal game. ‘To play Wednesday night and then against a really good team after only two days and a half. It was almost the same team against Arsenal.
‘That was my plan. I saw a lot of players very tired. We suffered a lot in the first half in the start of the second half. The fresh energy changed the game and we created chances to score.
‘We tried to win the game. At the end the result was fair.’