Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says he regrets leaving one of his players on the pitch for the full 90 minutes in a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, but has chosen not to reveal his identity.
Joel Ward’s late winner consigned Chelsea to their first home Premier League loss since April 2014, with the defending champions having now picked up just four points from their opening four matches.
And, at his post-match news conference, Mourinho revealed one player in particular was fortunate to last the distance at Stamford Bridge.
“I’m not happy because a performance is a collective performance. It is the performance of 11 players at the same time,” he said.
“The way you work during the week is to perform collectively and, to perform collectively, you need individual performances.
“At this level, when opponents are good and well organised and in good spirit with nothing to lose. When you have these kinds of matches at this level, you need people to perform and I cannot say that I had 11 players at the same time performing.
“Two or three of them, their individual performance was far from good.
“I blame myself for not changing one of them because I kept him in the game for 90 minutes.
“When I made the third change I realised that I needed a fourth and I don’t have a fourth.”
Asked for the identity of the player, Mourinho stressed: “That is the last thing I am going to tell you.”