Graham Potter insists Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s reaction to being substituted as a substitute was “normal” in Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City on Thursday.
The Blues were the superior side in the first half but City increased their intensity after the break and scored through Riyad Mahrez, who tapped Jack Grealish’s cross past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Potter watched two further Chelsea players struck down by injury in the first half with both Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling forced off.
Aubameyang came on for Sterling in just the fifth minute and toiled for an hour before Potter replaced him with 18-year-old Omari Hutchinson, who made his first senior appearance since his summer move from Arsenal.
The 33-year-old didn’t look best pleased as he trudged from the pitch and took his place on the bench.
But Potter insists he was happy with Aubameyang’s performance and explained he made the change due to the striker’s recent lack of game time.
He said: “He came on after one minute, hadn’t played for a while, and put in an absolute shift for us given Manchester City make you run a lot.
“I thought he did everything he could for the team. He was fatiguing a little bit, same as Hakim [Ziyech], so that was the decision.
“We needed a little bit of energy so I thought we could use Omari [Hutchinson], Conor [Gallagher], and Lewis [Hall]. Of course, players want to stay on the pitch and influence the game. It’s a normal reaction.”
Asked if he had spoken to Aubameyang, who clearly looked aggrieved, Potter added: “I haven’t had time to speak to him as I don’t have the time but it was a normal reaction and I thought he gave the team what he could.
“When you come up against Manchester City you’re going to have to do a lot of running and I thought he did that for us and he hasn’t played a lot lately so it was reasonable to take him off at the time we did.”
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