Antonio Conte explains why Eden Hazard was substituted vs Manchester United
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has said that it was a tactical decision to substitute Eden Hazard during the second half of his side's 2-1 Premier League defeat at Manchester United.
The Belgium international got his chances to play in his preferred left-wing position after Alvaro Morata was picked to start upfront for the first time in more than a month.
Hazard, 27, was lively during the first-half of the contest where he provided a brilliant assist for Willian on the counter-attack to open the scoring at Old Trafford.
However, as the game went on, the Belgian started to fade away, and he was hauled off from the pitch just moments prior to Jesse Lingard's winner for the Red Devils.
Speaking after the match, Conte clarified that the decision was based upon the player's fitness, and Hazard is no exception after his performance levels dropped in the second period.
"It was a tactical decision. You have to keep the same performance for 90 minutesWe 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," he told Sky Sports.
"His 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."
With the result, Chelsea suffered their seventh defeat of the Premier League campaign, and they have now fallen into fifth position, two points behind Tottenham Hotspur, who hold the final Champions League spot.
The Blues now have a tough away trip to Manchester City on Sunday, and they will be hoping for better luck, as the Citizens may find themselves fatigued owing to a Thursday night league outing at Arsenal.