Maurizio Sarri stood by his decision not to start with Eden Hazard in Chelsea’s Europa League semi-final first leg against Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Blues drew 1-1 in Germany, where Hazard came on as a second-half substitute.
Head coach Sarri said: “Eden was on the bench because in the last period he had 10 matches in a row.
“This match for us was number 59 and he has also played eight matches with the national team. For a player it is impossible to play 70 to 75 matches in a season.
“So, like other players he needs to rest or not play for 90 minutes. The second reason is that Eden is usually able to change the match from the bench.
“For me it was better to start with Willian and then try in the last 30-35 minutes with Eden.”
Chelsea’s potentially crucial away goal, scored by Pedro just before half-time, puts them in a strong position ahead of next week’s second leg at Stamford Bridge.
They had chances after the interval, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek shooting over and David Luiz hitting the bar with a free-kick.
“I think we deserved to win the game, but 1-1 away is not so bad,” said Sarri.