Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri admitted that his side were suffering from tiredness physically and mentally in the first half against Watford.
The Blues suffered to create anything in the opening 45 minutes against the Hornets as the visitors dominated right from the get-go, being unlucky not to have scored the opening goals of the match and even more unlucky to not have come away with anything at all as the final whistle blew.
Chelsea struggle but secure Champions League football
Speaking in the post-match press conference, Sarri said: “In the first half, we were in trouble because we were tired physically and mentally, then in the second half they (Watford) lowered their intensity, so we took control of the match.
“We were lucky, of course, to score after two minutes. And after the first goal we improved mentality, we were able to play well for the 30-34 minutes, but in the first half, we were in trouble and tired, mainly mentality than physically. It’s not easy to play (another match) 60 hours after a match.”
After surviving a first-half were Kepa Arrizabalaga kept Chelsea in the match, the Blues scored twice in the span of the two minutes through Ruben Loftus-Cheek and David Luiz, who both headed home from Eden Hazard corners just after the restart in the second-half.
Ben Foster did well to deny Chelsea a third goal on more than one occasion from the likes of Pedro, but Gonzalo Higuain was able to put the nail in the coffin as the Argentine beat the offside trap, and chipped the ball over the Watford keeper with 13 minutes to go to seal a massive three points for the west London side.
The result takes Chelsea to third in the Premier League table, with even a draw against Leicester City potentially being enough to return the club to the Champions League in Sarri’s first season in England.