Pep Guardiola believes Sunday’s clash against Chelsea will prove whether Manchester City are back on track in the title race or not.
City won the Premier League by a record margin last season but are involved in a tighter battle with Liverpool this time, while Spurs cannot be discounted.
City have already lost four games – twice as many as last term – but given the difficulties teams have had in retaining the title in recent years, Guardiola feels his side are very well placed.
Now he wants City to build on that to become the first team to win back-to-back league crowns in a decade.
Guardiola said: “I have known in the last five or six years the position where the champions will be the year after – all of them were out and didn’t have a chance to win the Premier League.
“However, we are there. That is what I like the most this season. So when people say that we underestimated Newcastle, we underestimated teams in Europe or whatever, I say we are in the Carabao Cup final and in all the competitions we are fighting.
“In the last two seasons Leicester and Chelsea had no chance, but we are there at the top.
“That is what I like the most but we want to be there until the end. If we win against Chelsea it will help us, and I am sure we will be there fighting to be champions again.”
Chelsea are one of the four teams to have beaten City this season, winning their meeting at Stamford Bridge in early December.
It was City’s first league loss of the campaign, with further defeats to Crystal Palace, Leicester and Newcastle highlighting areas of weakness in Guardiola’s squad.
One of them is the lack of a back-up to Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho, who at 33 will also need to be replaced before too long.
This is likely to be one of the top priorities when summer recruit plans are drawn up.
Guardiola said: “The scouting department is always looking for players for different positions, and you never know what is going to happen.
“We have some options and are looking for some (more) options but today it is not easy to find the player and to buy the player, so we will see. Until summer, we have time. We are trying to help Fernandinho in that position.”
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