Unai Emery explained the reasoning behind his team selection, after witnessing a disappointing defeat to Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The head coach made seven changes to the side that beat Napoli on Thursday night, and said that injuries played their part in his starting 11.
"We changed because we are going to play a lot of matches," he said. "We have had some injuries, like with Aaron Ramsey, and we need to protect the players. For example, Xhaka asked to change in the second half against Napoli and today could've played, but with some risk. We need to protect our players and to us other players. We are playing with a lot of players and they give us the performance, we lost today but we could also have lost with other players on the pitch."
Emery was also asked about Shkodran Mustafi's performance, after the defender was at fault for Palace’s second goal.
"We can speak about players individually, but sometimes they can play very well, sometimes cannot play well. But I prefer to speak about the consistency in the season. I think we are, every player, helping and every player is playing with a big performance and today also, when you can defend against a player like Benteke or Zaha, you can suffer more than maybe in other situations.
"But if today we were better in the set pieces, maybe we could have won this match."
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