Under-fire Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has revealed team balance was the reason he left wantaway winger Callum Hudson-Odoi out of the squad to face Bournemouth.
Sarri's side were thumped 4-0 by the Cherries at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday, with Hudson-Odoi's conspicuous absence from the team list noted.
The 18-year old attacker had a transfer request to join Bayern Munich rejected by the Blues on Monday - less than 24 hours after the second goal in Chelsea's 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup.
Initial reports suggested Sarri had omitted Hudson-Odoi from the matchday squad as punishment for wanting to leave the club, however the Italian coach said the talented teenager was left out to maintain balance.
"He was with us, he played three days ago. There was Willian [in the starting XI], so I had only one winger on the bench," Sarri said in his post-match press conference.
"We have four wingers, one had to be in the stands."
The four-goal defeat was only the second time Chelsea have ever been defeated by that margin in Premier League history - since a 5-1 loss against Liverpool in September 1996.
After going in goalless at half-time, the Blues collapsed in the second half as Josh King's brace and goals from David Brooks and Charlie Daniels sealed a famous Cherries win.
The thrashing saw Chelsea replaced in the top four by Arsenal and the gap to sixth-placed Manchester United stuck at two points.
Sarri admitted he may be at fault for the team's mentality against the likes of Bournemouth compared to a "big team", but refused to concede he was under pressure.
"At the moment they can react against a big team, when we play against a big team we can play with a big level of motivation," he said.
"But in this match it was different. Suddenly after the first goal we were not able to play. I think it was a different situation. Of course about the mentality.
"I feel frustrated, not under pressure. I did not see my work [on the pitch], so I am frustrated."
Chelsea will have an immediate opportunity to atone for the defeat with a home fixture against Premier League strugglers Huddersfield Town on Saturday.