London: Jose Mourinho said defensive reasons caused him to leave Eden Hazard out of Chelsea's starting line-up as the Premier League champions returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory against Aston Villa.
Hazard was a surprise omission from the Chelsea starting 11 on Saturday, but the Blues thrived in his absence as an opener from Diego Costa and an own goal from Alan Hutton secured a crucial three points to ease the pressure on Mourinho.
It was just Chelsea's third league victory of a campaign which has seen them make their worst start to a season in 37 years and Blues boss Mourinho left no doubt as to why Hazard had been forced to watch all but the last seven minutes from the bench.
"I left out Hazard because we are conceding lots of goals. We need to defend better," said Mourinho. "We need our midfielders to be just worried in the central area of the pitch, not worrying about compensation on the left or right. Playing with Willian and Pedro, the midfielders don't have to move left or right. They know those parts are controlled.
"Pedro and Willian did amazing work and allowed the midfielders to be very comfortable. It was a tactical decision. Leaving super quality on the bench, but bringing tactical discipline and hoping the team could be solid. Today I made this decision. I have other possibilities. I have to try and make the best decision for the team."