CESAR Azpiliceta admits tiredness played a part in Chelsea falling short at Wembley on Sunday.
With extra games in the UEFA Super Cup, World Club Cup and Europa League – the Blues find themselves with a season 15 games longer than FA Cup semi-final opponents Manchester City.
The fatigue was clear to see on the pitch, with a number of players looking tired very early on against a physical City side.
Chelsea's right-back said: “It's a reality – we know that we have played 15 more games than Manchester City.
“We played three days ago in Moscow – so it is the reality. But we are professional: we try to do our best to prepare for the game the best that we can. But after all – it is a game, and it is normal that we feel a bit more tired than the other team.
“We did this season with two semi-finals, also the Capital One Cup, so it is true that we have played a lot of games.”
Asked how difficult that made facing a top side such as City, Azpilicueta said: “It is difficult, but now is the last month – and the best games.
“We play one semi final now [against City], we are waiting to pay the Europa League semi-final. We are fighting for third place to get in the Champions League. So now we need to be focused and not think abut that [tiredness] because it doesn't matter. We need to win, and it doesn't matter the way to do it.”