Swansea had conceded twice in their previous five home games and they showed why with a dogged defensive display that limited the Blues to a handful of clear goalscoring opportunities, the best two falling to Pato either side of the break.
But it wasn’t to be meaning we fell to our first league defeat since Guus Hiddink returned. The manager analysed the match afterwards…
‘We expected a difficult game here of course,’ he said. ‘They needed three points theoretically, whereas we were safe already. We had already achieved a rather soft target. We expected a lot of opposition.
‘In the first 20 mins we created some half-chances, but we were sloppy in materialising those options, thinking maybe it would come later. No. If you don’t materialise those, there is a law in football everyone knows which is that you can get in trouble, which we did not long after, going 1-0 down.
‘In the second half we played most of the time in one half but we weren’t able to create a lot of chances.’
The 15-game unbeaten run in the Premier League is over
‘It’s not a personal objective [staying unbeaten], but at the same time if it’s the objective then you win games, Chelsea win games, the team wins.
‘You can see now we have given some younger players opportunities to play. There is a risk you can lose more easily than when everyone is on board.
‘I prefer to give chances to people playing less frequently and then having the risk of defeat, although today’s defeat was unnecessary.’
Asmir Begovic started in place of Thibaut Courtois in goal
‘The idea behind it was that Begovic, being a good goalie, which he has proven already in many Premier League games, is doing his job as a professional very well in training to keep himself in shape.
‘Every training session he is 100 per cent committed and on top of that he is helping out Thibaut Courtois in a very good professional way, and that’s why I rewarded him by having him play at least once.’
Matt Miazga was replaced by Kenedy at half-time and Hiddink explained why
‘We had had some half-chances which we were not sharp enough to materialise. We went 1-0 down with some sloppy defensive work and on top of that he had a yellow card, and I didn’t want to take the risk of him getting a second yellow. That was the main reason to make the substitution.’
Hiddink was asked if the appointment of Antonio Conte, announced earlier this week, had an impact
‘I don’t think so because what we did in the second half was play with more pace and more pressure. The players didn’t have next season in mind.’