The Canaries levelled through Anthony Pilkington in the 68th minute following Oscar's early opener and were pushing to at least force a draw at home.
But Chelsea scored twice in the final five minutes to wrap up a 3-1 win which Hughton felt was quality play by the visiting team.
"I generally felt, on the balance of play after conceding a poor goal so early and giving them that momentum, we couldn't have asked for any more effort and determination," he said.
"It was their second goal which hurt us. It came from our corner and we were set up very well, but their power and pace on the counter-attack got the better of us, then at 2-1 it became very difficult for us.
"You have to hold your hand up sometimes: the strike for the third goal, they have that kind of quality."
For breaking stories and all the great banter like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tribalfootball