Maurizio Sarri remains unsure whether Chelsea are serious contenders for the Premier League title despite his team moving up to second in the table.
Alvaro Morata struck a double and his fellow Spaniard Pedro was also on target in a 3-1 win at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday, the Blues’ fourth consecutive victory in all competitions.
City, Liverpool and leaders Manchester City – who are two points clear at the top after thumping Southampton 6-1 – are all unbeaten after 11 rounds of fixtures.
But Sarri is not yet convinced Chelsea, who have won the title in two of the last four years, are ready to be considered challengers for City’s crown.
‘I don’t know, I don’t know,’ Sarri said at his post-match news conference.
‘At the beginning, we knew very well that there was a gap. There was a gap last season, 30 points. So I think that, at the moment, we need only to think… to try to recover the large part of this gap.
‘I hope to recover almost all the gap, but I don’t know. I think it’s very difficult to cover 30 points in six months, but we are trying.’
Chelsea’s latest win means Sarri has gone unbeaten in his opening 11 Premier League matches, the first manager to do so since Nottingham Forest’s Frank Clark 24 years ago.
‘I am really very proud, but I am very proud to be the coach of this team,’ Sarri said. ‘The record is not one of the coach, but of the team.
‘I was lucky. I have very good players, and my players, in the last two months, were able to win also without a great level of organisation from the tactical point of view. I was lucky, I think.’