Antonio Conte said he waited to make changes against Liverpool because he believed Chelsea were threatening to find an equaliser.
The Blues were beaten 2-1 at Stamford Bridge – their first defeat since Conte took over as manager – and some of the home fans were unhappy that he did not make a substitution earlier.
He made a triple change with seven minutes remaining, bringing on Cesc Fabregas, Victor Moses and Pedro for Nemanja Matic, Willian and Oscar.
Asked why he waited, Conte said: “Because in the second half we started with the same players and we had great intensity, scored a goal and created chances to score another.
“I waited to make substitutions and then I brought on three players to give some freshness.
“I tried to change the result. In the past that happened, but this time it didn’t happen.”
Asked why he opted not to bring on a striker in Michy Batshuayi, Conte said: “I wanted to change a central midfielder to put Cesc Fabregas on.
“I decided to make a change. It could have been Batshuayi but on this occasion I decided to change the wingers and move Eden Hazard close to Diego Costa.”
Costa’s goal just after the hour mark gave Chelsea hope, but Dejan Lovren’s tidy finish and a fantastic strike from Jordan Henderson had put Liverpool 2-0 up and in a commanding position.
And Conte felt his team’s sloppy defending helped the visitors’ cause.
The Italian said: “In the first half, I must be honest, I think we gave away two goals.
“The first was after a free-kick that they took very quickly and the second was after a throw-in when they then shot from distance – a good goal.
“When you give away two goals in this way, it is very difficult because Liverpool are a good team and these are tough games.
“You must pay attention in every moment – in every single second of the game – because the details make the difference and in this case we paid a lot.”
Conte, was, however, happy with David Luiz’s performance.
With skipper John Terry sidelined, Luiz made his first appearance since his surprise return to the Bridge from Paris St-Germain.
“I think he played very well,” Conte said.