Gianfranco Zola admitted Chelsea struggled against Bournemouth before the second-half introductions of Eden Hazard and Pedro.
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Pedro helped create the late winner for fellow substitute Hazard, whose goal secured a Carabao Cup semi-final showdown with Tottenham.
“The difference was the changes that we made,” assistant boss Zola said after the 1-0 quarter-final win at Stamford Bridge.
“It was a very tough game. I have to say Bournemouth are a very good team and gave us a really hard time.
“When Pedro and Eden came on they really gave us an extra gear as we got the goal that made all the difference.
“We knew that Eden is the type of player that when he comes on, even for 20 minutes, he can really make a difference. But also Pedro was excellent.”
There continues to be much speculation over the future of Hazard but Zola is hopeful the Belgian will stay.
Zola said: “Hopefully he will stay long with us. I’m really looking forward to Eden achieving great things for us.”
There was praise too for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who produced another impressive performance to further stake his claim for a regular place in the Chelsea side.
Zola said: “I was impressed with him. Towards the end he was getting tired but still he was disciplined and he gave the team a hand.
“He has gone a long way since the beginning of the season. He has improved in many ways and I’m pleased because he’s a good boy and works very hard at his game.”