Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has explained that his decision to withdraw Tiemoue Bakayoko at halftime against West Ham on Saturday was a tactical one.
The Frenchman has received mixed reviews since joining the Blues from Monaco this summer and has been quite inconsistent.
Fans seem to be growing rather frustrated with their new man, with the player being at fault for goals scored by Liverpool and Atletico Madrid in recent matches.
His performance in the weekend's London derby certainly didn't do him any good. But Conte has stopped short of criticising the player, even claiming that he had a good game against West Ham.
"Yes, it was a tactical decision," the Italian said regarding the substitution, via the Evening Standard.
Haven’t been impressed by Tiémoué Bakayoko this season at all. Looks timid in Chelsea’s midfield. They sure do miss Nemanja Matić, whether they want to admit it or not.— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) December 9, 2017
"Bakayoko was playing a good game but when you find 11 players behind the ball and you are losing 1-0, it is important to change something and find a different solution.
"In this case Pedro has different characteristics to Bakayoko. He is better one versus one and better at taking on players. To lose a physical player wasn’t important after the first half. It was only a tactical decision. The player satisfied me for his performance."
Asked if he would look to the market for new players in January, Conte refused to be drawn in.
"I don’t want to speak about this," he replied. "We have just started December and there is one month until January, then about this topic I think it is better to speak to the club and to tell my opinion.
"Then, like every time, the last decision was the club. I can give my opinion but the last decision is of the club, and it is right to do this."