Thomas Tuchel has admitted that the poor form of Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech meant he felt he had to make changes against Southampton.
Both players have struggled in recent weeks and were kept out of Chelsea for Saturday’s 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge.
During his post-match press conference, Blues boss Tuchel said: “We always do our best to put the players in the best shape, but at some point, after many chances, we have to admit that Kai and Hakim are not in their best shape. his best form.
“Maybe it’s not even their fault – it just is right now. They are currently struggling to be decisive.
“We had a period after the preparation where they were very decisive for us. They lost a little bit of maybe faith or trust.
“No one is mad at them and no one is very concerned. But we have to pay attention to form.”
After back-to-back Chelsea defeats, and with Southampton known for their high press style, Tuchel chose instead to start with Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Ross Barkley is another player who has been back in the fold recently – he came on as a late substitute.
Tuchel explains: “I feel that Ruben and Ross have no pressure at the moment because they are happy with these opportunities.
“Maybe six weeks ago they couldn’t have imagined that they would be in a position where they get really important minutes.
“They can help us because they have a totally positive attitude and they don’t feel the pressure.
“We lost the last two games and we felt something was missing, so we decided to put Ruben in because we were aware of the high pressure in the midfield and yet we wanted to go through the midfield and have Ruben and Kovacic who not only can pass but also drive the ball to escape the squeeze.”