Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi claims he put out a strong enough team to beat Chelsea at Stamford despite resting the likes of Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster.
He also limited the minutes of Ansu Fati, Solly March, Mahmoud Dahoud and Kaoru Mitoma in a game they dominated but ultimately fell short and crashed out in the third round.
Chelsea had come into the game on the back of a 1-0 home defeat to Aston Villa with pressure mounting on manager Mauricio Pochettino.
De Zerbi who has been linked to the Real Madrid job and has just a year left on his contract claims he was disappointed with the outcome despite not going full strength.
He added: “Okay, Buonanotte and Baleba (were born in) 2004. Lamptey, it was his first game since the injury last season.
“Dahoud and Mitoma couldn’t play 90 minutes and then Saturday in Birmingham another 90 minutes. At this moment I have to manage in a different way. We have to adapt, we have to improve.
“Young players have to progress quickly – Buonanotte, Baleba - because in football we don’t have time. I don’t want to make any excuses. It was the right first XI to win the game. I’m disappointed because this competition has finished and we came here to win the game.”
The much-needed win was Chelsea’s third in eight games under Pochettino and certainly the most important with the other two coming against Luton and Wimbledon.
They will now hope they take the momentum into their league game against Fulham on Monday night.