Frank Lampard believes Chelsea and Manchester United believes a fear of defeat to a Premier League title rival prevented both teams from playing to their potential.
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Lampard and his team-mates played out a 0-0 draw with United on Monday evening, and the midfielder says the importance of the match kept both sides from taking risks.
He told Sky Sports 1: "It was tense. People talk about big decider games early in the season and neither team wants to lose. It was a bit of a stalemate in those terms.
"We worked hard to stop the threat they've got up front and they worked hard to stop us."
Blues captain and defender John Terry agreed with Lampard, saying: "Neither of us had too many chances to win the game. I think both teams looked solid and it's obviously a great point for us away from home.
"It's a tough place to come. It's out of the way and we move on now. I think both midfields and attacks cancelled each other out a bit and neither team wanted to lose the game so early on in the season."
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was more concerned by a lack of cohesion between defence and attack - but he was happy to take a point nonetheless.
"I think the result is fair," he said. "I think nobody did enough to be better than the opponents.
"I think we controlled the game for most of the time, for a match at Old Trafford we didn't have real problems but going from defensive situations to attacking situations was not the best.
"There are very fast and creative players in attack but the ball possession was not the best, we lost simple passes and made mistakes.
"In terms of attack we didn't give what we could or what we should have. I told the players before the game 'we want to win, we will play to win'."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.