With the scores level at 1-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte opted to take off Eden Hazard for Pedro. It was Conte’s first substitution in the match.
Two minutes after Hazard’s substitution, Jesse Lingard headed home the winner for Jose Mourinho’s side to claim all three points.
Conte revealed after the game he took off Hazard due to tiredness but every Chelsea fan would prefer a tired Hazard on the pitch to an Alvaro Morata who was poor for 90 minutes against Manchester United.
Morata has been out of form all through the year and the fact he played for 90 minutes while Hazard was taken off is really surprising.
Seeing Morata play 90 minutes while Hazard was taken off certainly affected the players on the pitch. WIllian was brilliant against Manchester United but United controlled him better after Conte took off Hazard.
Thibaut Courtois’ comments after the game showed the players were disappointed Hazard was taken off.
“I did not expect it, but it’s the manager’s choice. He’ll explain it,” Courtois said after the game.
Hazard is a player who can produce magic out of nothing and with Chelsea trying to win the game at Old Trafford, Hazard and not an out-of-form Morata should be playing for 90 minutes.
Taking off Hazard was a huge mistake. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and his players would have been happy to see Hazard go off on Sunday as they had less threat to deal. It certainly made Scott McTominay’s job even easier.
Despite our loss to Manchester United on Sunday, I still expect Chelsea to finish in the top four this season. It’s still in our hands as we still have to play Tottenham and Liverpool.
Conte needs to start making the right decisions before and during games to ensure Chelsea play Champions League football and not Europa League football next season.