SAINTS boss Mark Hughes admitted his side was ‘too passive’ during their 3-0 defeat against Chelsea.

The home side began with three central defenders for the first time since the start of the season.

But it failed to have the desired effect as Saints set the tone with a lack of intensity.

Danny Ings volleyed over from close range shortly before Eden Hazard gave Chelsea a 30th-minute lead.

After that, Saints never looked like taking anything from their latest match.

Hughes said: “It was a typical afternoon for us. It didn’t start with the intensity we talked about. We were too passive and too open in our own half.

“We were able to create a good chance for Danny and clearly if we score first it might have been a different type of game for us.

“As it was, conceding the first goal played into Chelsea’s hands because they’re very clever and very adept at playing on the counter attack with great talent at the top end of the pitch.

“We were guilty of overplaying on the edge of our box. Chelsea this year are pressing with lots of numbers at the top end of the pitch and we needed to play accordingly. But we fell into the trap on that occasion."

Saints switched to 4-3-3 at half-time but Chelsea doubled their lead before the hour mark.

“I changed formation about four times and made a couple of changes, personnel and shape wise, at half-time,” continued Hughes.

“But it wasn’t really about formations, it was more about our ability to affect them and get on the front foot.

“We found it very difficult to do that against a good team.”

Chelsea highlighted their quality with a sensational 31-pass move for the third goal in injury-time.

“That was a real disappointment, it summed up our day,” continued Hughes.

“We didn’t get close enough to put pressure on the ball in our defensive third … it was indicative of our performance.

Hughes took encouragement from his side’s performance in the 3-2 defeat at home to Chelsea in April.

That was not the case this time.

“Last year Chelsea didn’t have the devilment that seems to be in their play at the moment, not allowing the opposition to have any chance to get a foothold in the game.

"I was very impressed by them, they were very difficult to contain but we should have coped better with that.”