Antonio Conte believes his Chelsea side were unlucky to be knocked out of the EFL Cup by rivals West Ham.
The Hammers led 2-0 at London Stadium, through goals from Cheikhou Kouyate and Edimilson Fernandes, before Gary Cahill added a consolation strike with the last kick of the game.
Chelsea had missed a number of chances and hit the crossbar through Eden Hazard, leaving Conte disappointed by their last-16 exit.
“We knew these types of game are very difficult, but I think we played with good intensity and created many chances,” said the Italian.
“I saw good spirit in my players. They tried until the end to change the result and we created many chances to score.
“We didn’t expect the second goal so early. This changed our plan and then we tried to change the situation with substitutions, but scored only at the end of the match. We were a bit unlucky in this aspect.”
Conte handed a full debut to Nathaniel Chalobah, as well as another start to Ola Aina, and he was at least able to reflect on some positives from the defeat, which came on the heels of Sunday’s 4-0 Premier League thrashing of Manchester United.
“This cup was important to check the development of the young players,” he continued. “We have good young players and they need to play.
“I think the young players played a good game with the right intensity and concentration. I found a lot of positive things.
“Usually you learn more after a defeat than a win. I am optimistic because I saw the right spirit, it’s very important.”
Conte’s side head to Southampton at the weekend, having won their last three top-flight matches, scoring 10 goals without conceding.
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