Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has claimed Chelsea are still challengers for the Premier League title.
Mancini’s men are currently the big favourites after an unbeaten start to the season and a 6-1 win against local rivals Manchester United saw them open up a five-point lead at the top of the table.
But after having that lead cut to just two points following United’s convincing victory against Wolves on Saturday, the Eastlands boss has admitted the title race is wide open with even Chelsea, who sit off the pace in fifth place, having a chance of recovering by May.
"The Premier League is very difficult and in these two months, all the teams that play every three days will find it difficult,” Mancini said.
"I think they can win it. They have 10 points less than us but we play two times against them and there are 24 games until the end of the season."
Mancini also came out in support of his opposite number Andre Villas-Boas adding that Chelsea did well to acquire such a manager.
The young Chelsea boss has come in for criticism after suffering four defeats in 14 league games but a win against City on Monday night would lift the Blues up to third place on goal difference, temporarily dispersing doubts about his credentials.
"I think that has shown in the last year he is a good manager,” Mancini added. “He did well at Porto, he won trophies.
"Chelsea did well to get him. Carlo Ancelotti is a fantastic manager and I was sorry for him when Chelsea decided to sack him, but I think Villas-Boas is a good manager for them."