Southampton manager Claude Puel felt Eden Hazard and Diego Costa proved the difference as Premier League leaders Chelsea ran out 4-2 winners at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard fired in his 15th league goal of the season after five minutes but ex-Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu levelled and Southampton were in the ascendancy before Gary Cahill headed home in first-half stoppage time.
Costa then came to the fore after the interval with a brace – his second a wonderfully worked goal featuring one-twos with Hazard and Pedro.
Ryan Bertrand nodded in a late Saints consolation and Puel was largely impressed with his players, but was left to rue two world-class talents.
"It was a better performance than against Manchester City [a 3-0 defeat in Southampton's previous match]," he told a post-match news conference.
"It's a shame in the end because we had a good game with quality, against a great, good opponent.
"But we conceded the goals in bad moments, after five minutes, just before half-time, just after half-time. It's a shame, it's a shame.
"We played against great players. Eden Hazard and Diego Costa played well and they were the difference."