Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri said he left Ross Barkley out of the starting line-up against Everton because it was the right time to give him a rest.
Barkley, who played in the Europa League win over BATE Borisov three days earlier, was named among the substitutes for the game against his former club at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri decided to go with Mateo Kovacic, who lined up in midfield instead.
Barkley, who has been in fine form for the Blues, only featured for the final 10 minutes of Sunday’s 0-0 draw.
“Ross played for the 90 minutes in the last match three days ago,” Sarri told Sky Sports. “We are lucky because we have Kovacic – a great player who is fresh to play.”
The result meant Sarri became the first new Premier League boss to avoid defeat in their first dozen games in charge.
“I would have preferred three points today than the record,” the Italian admitted.
“As I said to my players, in the last three matches we created few goal opportunities in relation to how much we played.
“So in this moment maybe there is a little problem. But three matches is a very short time, so I don’t know. We have to be careful I think.
“Maybe in this period we have not been able to create for how much we played.
“For example, in the last match in the Europa League we played 81 balls in the opponents’ box but we created only four goal opportunities and I think we can do better.”