Frank Lampard stood by his team selection after Chelsea’s shock defeat against West Ham.
The Blues were beaten 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, where boss Lampard made a number of changes.
He was without the injured Tammy Abraham and his other changes included a recall for Mason Mount, who started in place of N’Golo Kante.
Lampard felt he had no choice but to change things following the gruelling away trip to Valencia in the Champions League.
Asked if he felt the changes were the reason for the defeat, Lampard said: “I don’t think that. Tammy was enforced and he’s been going well.
“I have to think about the squad and the course of the season. When we have a very taxing game where we give everything physically, arrive back late, I have to think about how fresh we can be.
“It also gives me a look at how we are generally because we’re not going to get through the season with the same 10 or 11 players.
“I think the team we had out there has the quality to win this game.The fact we performed below par is the reason we didn’t.
“I still believe in the squad, but when you look at it today we made some changes and we didn’t perform as well as we wanted to.
“Those will be questions that are asked of us from the outside and questions I’ll want to ask for myself.
“I do believe in the squad and I think we’ve shown some great stuff this season.
“I’ve not had to sit here many times and say ‘we were below par today’. Today was one of those days but I don’t think it’s a time for harsh reactions and judgements.”
Lampard was expected to select Michy Batshuayi in place of Abraham but instead turned to Olivier Giroud.
And he played without a recognised striker for the final 20 minutes, bringing on Callum Hudson-Odoi rather than Batshuayi for Giroud.
Lampard explained: “It felt to me the way the game was that as West Ham defended deeper what we needed was some ability to try and get another person who can go by 1 v 1 and take people out of the game and create something because the game was becoming difficult.
“The crosses they were defending pretty well, so I felt in getting Callum on there was someone who might be able to create a bit of magic to get us back in it.”
The result ended West Ham’s seven-game winless run and eased the pressure on boss Manuel Pellegrini, who had been facing speculation over his future.
It was also the Hammers’ first victory at the Bridge for 17 years.
But Lampard said: “The Premier League is what it is; no game is easy or given to you. I’m disappointed rather than shocked.”