Antonio Conte lamented Chelsea's worsening injury situation after Victor Moses damaged his hamstring against Crystal Palace, but conceded the champions were second-best in a shock 2-1 defeat to the Eagles.
The Blues were aiming to return to winning ways at Selhurst Park having gone down 1-0 down at home to title rivals Manchester City before the international window.
However, Wilfried Zaha scored on the stroke of half-time after Tiemoue Bakayoko had cancelled out an own goal from Cesar Azpilicueta, as Palace registered their first goals and points of the season.
To make matters worse, former Palace man Moses limped off in the first half and joins an injury list that already contains Alvaro Morata, N'Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater, a situation that is frustrating boss Conte.
"I think, in this moment, for us it's a very difficult moment. When you start a game without Morata and without Kante, it's not simple," Conte, whose side are nine points adrift of leaders Manchester City, told a post-match news conference.
"Above all, if, during the game, another important player in your team has an injury too like Victor Moses ... I hope to have him back very soon because this moment is very difficult for us.
"To lose three or four players, it's a big problem for us. But, despite this, we have to find the will to fight. I think this season will be very difficult and, for this reason, we have to put 150 per cent in.
"It's not enough to put 100 per cent in like last season. I think this season, me first, the staff and the players have to put in 150 per cent because the season will be very difficult.
"We want to try and be competitive in all competitions, but it won't be easy."
Full-time: Crystal Palace 2-1 Chelsea. October 14, 2017
Conte, who confirmed Moses will miss the midweek Champions League clash with Roma, refused to make excuses about the depth of Chelsea's squad, but acknowledged the absence of Morata and Kante may have accounted for an imbalance to his side.
"I think the situation is very clear and everyone can see that situation. I repeat, my job is to be focused on my work with my players, and to try and do our best," he added.
"For sure it's not an easy moment for us. But I think that, in this moment, it's important to find a solution. Don't look for excuses.
"To lose a player like Kante is not simple because he's able to cover a lot of the pitch. But, for sure, I have to think also to take into consideration a solution.
"You know very well that the balance is very important if you want to win. The balance is very important. For sure, today, our balance was poor. Yes."
Asked if Chelsea were second best, he said: "Yes, I think that today was a difficult game for us. A difficult game from the start.
"Our start was poor. When you play against Crystal Palace away, you have to start with more personality otherwise you allow your opponent to take confidence.
"We conceded the first goal, then we were able to come back and, in the last few minutes of the first half, concede another bad goal. Then it was very difficult for us."
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