"They had played two home games and had an extra day rest".
Despite the absence of Sergio Aguero after the Argentine striker broke a rib in a auto crash on Thursday, City dominated and nearly took a first half lead when Thibaut Courtois pushed out Fernandinho's header.
The result also served to equal the club record of five consecutive top-flight away wins, matching sequences established between April and September 1912 and May to September 2015.
Conte retained the same 3-5-1-1 system he had used against Atletico and his men threatened to pick up where they had left off in the Spanish capital, Morata glancing a header wide from N'Golo Kante's cross.
So for City to start their big trips with this controlled win against the reigning champions was a statement about being a more serious, competitive side this year.
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City eventually took the lead on 67 minutes as De Bruyne smashed in a superb left foot strike from the edge of the box which flew past Courtois.
City stayed in first place on goal difference from Manchester United, who won 4-0 against a beleaguered Crystal Palace side that is still without a point or goal. Marcos Alonso played one and a half games, because against Stoke I changed him.
Chelsea's lack of firepower became apparent as Morata's replacement Willian took his role in a formation lacking a striker.
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Speaking about the defeat to City, Fabregas believed exhausted legs played a huge part in the loss although he stressed there is still lots of twists and turns to come this season.