Conte admits below-par Chelsea were tired

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Antonio Conte said Chelsea’s midweek draw with Arsenal was the reason for their lacklustre 0-0 draw against Leicester at Stamford Bridge.

Conte said he always planned to play “almost the same team” against the Foxes as he did against the Gunners in the Caraboa Cup.

But the Italian admitted fatigue played a big part in his team’s below-par display against a side who went down to 10 men after 68 minutes.

“Honestly, not to find an excuse, we paid a lot for the effort against Arsenal,” Conte said after a third successive goalless draw.

“We played Wednesday night and played against a really good team in good physical form like Leicester after only two-and-a-half days.

“We have to consider in this period that to face all competitions is not simple.”

Leicester wasted four excellent first-half chances and Chelsea only really began to properly compete when Willian and Pedro were brought on with more than 30 minutes remaining.

“I saw a lot of players very tired,” Conte added. “We suffered a lot in the first half and at the start of the second half but when I decided to put fresh energy the game changed.

“We tried to create chances and score. We didn’t suffer defensively and we tried to win the game but I think at the end a draw was fair.”

He said taking off Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard was an easy decision: “I saw they were were very, very tired. It was simple.”