Thomas Tuchel has conceded Chelsea's Premier League title hopes could be over this weekend should they suffer defeat to Manchester City.
Chelsea travel north for Saturday's early kick off at the Etihad Stadium. They find themselves 10 points adrift of the league leaders and a defeat would see City's lead extend to 13 points.
It would be very unlikely that Pep Guardiola's side would surrender such a big lead and so Chelsea will need to at their 'top level', as requested Tuchel, if they want to head back to the capital with a point or three.
City beat Chelsea in the reverse fixture back in September, comfortably beating the Blues who got it tactically all wrong.
Now Tuchel knows that their title ambitions could be put to an end this season should Guardiola's side come away with all three points on Saturday.
“Maybe (if Chelsea lose title chances are over), who knows," admitted the German in his pre-match press conference. "So far in the season as far as I’m concerned, they dealt better with injuries and Covid situation. Maybe is lucky, maybe they do it better. They have less injuries to key players, less days out and weeks where they miss them. They did not suffer from Covid like we did. This is the huge difference. We had some draws that were unnecessary. If you have your full squad you create a certain atmosphere for everybody that pushes everybody to the edge and you need to be on your edge, the very highest level if you want to compete with Man City.
“They are the bench mark, the best team in England right now. This is something we have to admit realistically. We don’t think a lot in scenarios what happens if. Let’s play the game. I am always in for a good fight but also very realistic. If you look back to the last games, if we have the squad, feel good and are in a good shape, we are always up for a good fight with Man City. We are always there to push them to the limit and ask some questions maybe they don’t like to answer. But the situation is that they are very strong, very consistent and perform on the absolute highest level so this is it. Here we go.”