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Chelsea new manager Maurizio Sarri has insisted that his side are only fighting for a top-four finish in the Premier League this season and not the title.
The Blues made a strong start to the season under Sarri following his appointment as Antonio Conte’s successor at Stamford Bridge last summer.
The former Napoli coach made an encouraging start to his Stamford Bridge tenure, embarking on a run of 18 games without defeat in all competitions before a 3-1 loss against Spurs at Wembley back in November.
Chelsea remain in contention for three trophies and lead Manchester United and Arsenal in the race for fourth place ahead of this weekend’s trip to Manchester City, but comprehensive defeats at the Emirates and Bournemouth last month have cast doubt over Sarri’s methods.
The Italian has questioned the mentality of his players on several occasions this season and led a 50-minute dressing room inquest following the 4-0 defeat at the Vitality Stadium, Chelsea’s heaviest loss since 1996.
Speaking at a news conference at Cobham on Friday afternoon, Sarri replied when asked if his side are title contenders: “I don’t think so, not at the moment.
“We will be able to fight for the top four this season, no more. We can win something of course, but in the Premier League there is a fight between Liverpool and Man City. In my opinion, Man City are the best team in Europe. They are an example for every club.
“We need to work. Guardiola is in the third season in the Premier League, Klopp in the fourth or fifth, but we need to work. I don’t know another way.
“We need only to work and try to reduce the gap.”