Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has suggested that his first-team squad were in need of "a rest" after the club's recent hectic schedule.
After Monday night's 4-1 defeat to Watford, Conte allowed his players to have three days off with their next fixture against West Bromwich Albion not being played until Monday night.
Chelsea had played a total of 10 games in the space of 33 days and despite three defeats in four matches, Conte has insisted that it was important for his players to spend some time away from the training pitch.
At his pre-match press conference, the 48-year-old told reporters: "I think it was the only moment in the whole season to give them a bit of rest. For this reason.
"I think in the future it will be very important to have a little space and room with the federation to give a bit of room for the players. When you play a lot of games, especially when you go through in the competitions.
"We are playing in the FA Cup and two games against Norwich, then Champions League and the league. A bit of rest for the players, not just mine, but in general is important."