Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink said Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s physical presence led to the young midfielder being brought on as a substitute against West Ham rather than Alexandre Pato.
The Blues trailed 2-1 with six minutes remaining at Stamford Bridge when Oscar was taken off.
Instead of throwing on striker Pato, who is yet to make his debut since joining on loan from Corinthians in January, Hiddink turned to Loftus-Cheek for only the 10th league appearance of his career.
The 20-year-old was fouled by Michail Antonio, allowing Cesc Fabregas to equalise from the resulting penalty.
Hiddink said: “Ruben is strong and he can penetrate. He can also play physically well and technically well, which he proved in this action [for the penalty].”
The Dutchman again suggested that Pato is behind Bertrand Traore in the pecking order, after the Burkina Faso youngster also came on.
“You have to make a choice who to bring on,” Hiddink said. “We have now several strikers. When Costa is not there, then we have Remy.
“We also have Traore and Pato. They are competing for the second position spot.
“I make my fair judgement on what we see during training as well, and then I take my decision.”