Southampton boss Ronald Koeman refused to blame his side's loss to West Ham United on fatigue following their 2-1 defeat at Upton Park on Monday night.
The Dutchman had previously voiced his concerns over the tight scheduling of games over the festive period but decided to make just two changes from the side that recorded a shock 4-0 victory over Arsenal at the weekend.
The Saints were far the better side in the first half but found themselves pegged back in their own half for the majority of the second.
When asked if he felt that fatigue played a part in his side's downfall, Koeman said: "No, because I tried to explain that both teams had that work rate until the last second.
"I think the start in the second half was not good but that's not about physically not strong. No.
"We did more mistakes in our ball possession and that was the difference and that gave West Ham the belief in a good result finally."
Koeman didn't want to blame the fact that his players had less than 44 hours rest before Monday's game and found it easy to explain why they had lost.
"It's not so difficult to explain because we spoke in half-time about our first half and what we can expect in the second half," he said.
"That was a different opponent with Carroll on the pitch, more aggressive, more direct football, and that's more difficult.
"Then you need to be quiet, you need to control the game and the first 20 minutes we lost more balls in our ball possession, we did more mistakes.
"Out of two situations but already Carroll had a chance after half-time, and that's the reason why we lost, and that's difficult if the team is playing so good football as we played the first 45 minutes but football is 90-95 minutes.
"We had a good reaction at the 2-1 down, had some chances to equalise the game, but also West Ham had a big chance to score 3-1.
"I am impressed by both teams, what they did until the end of the game. The reaction of the West Ham team, our team what we did until 95 minutes but it was not enough." he concluded.