Chelsea are widely tipped as the team most likely to challenge champions Manchester City for this season's Premier League title, but manager Thomas Tuchel has ruled the London club out of the race, saying they first need to close in on top-ranked rivals.
European champions Chelsea, who added the Super Cup https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/kepa-hero-chelsea-win-super-cup-6-5-penalties-2021-08-11 to their collection this week, got their Premier League campaign off to a flying start with a 3-0 home win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, even without new signing Romelu Lukaku.
Tuchel, who took over Chelsea midway through last season and led them to a top-four finish, said his team are "fourth favourites" to win the league and must hunt down Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool - last season's top three teams.
"To be totally honest, I see us as the number four, that cannot be the favourite in the next year," he told reporters after Saturday's game.
"This is the Premier League, a tough competition. It's on us, we are in this role and in the role of the hunters, we have to close the gap to Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.
"This was a very good first step, but that's the reality and we are not shy to say this out loud that we try to be the best in any competition we play, but the reality is we come from fourth place and have three teams to close the gap to."
Chelsea next travel to north London to play Arsenal on Aug. 22.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing)