Antonio Conte said he brought Willian on during Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City because he believed the Brazilian would be able to get in behind the visitors’ defence.
Blues boss Conte opted to replace Alvaro Morata with Willian when the Spain striker went off injured 10 minutes before half-time at Stamford Bridge, where the champions were beaten 1-0.
It meant Eden Hazard led the line as Chelsea played without a recognised striker until Michy Batshuayi came on in the second half.
“It was a simple tactical decision,” said Conte.
“In this type of game I thought Willian with Hazard was a good decision to try to exploit the space behind the defenders.”
The result left Chelsea six points behind Premier League leaders City going into the international break, but Conte was pleased with their effort.
He said: “For sure there is disappointment at the result, but at the same time I am pleased with the commitment of my players. We gave everything.
“You can win or lose a game but I think the most important thing is see players give you everything and today this happened.
“We played against a really good team and we created chances to score but didn’t take them. City took their chance and in this type of game it is very important to score first.
“When I see that my players gave everything I must be pleased despite the bad result.”
Conte added that Chelsea are confident Morata’s injury is not serious.