Maurizio Sarri believes challenging for the Premier League remains a step too far for Chelsea despite their 100 per cent record in the opening weeks of the 2018-19 season.
Sarri arrived at Stamford Bridge in July and has hit the ground running, winning all four of their league matches prior to the international break.
Only Liverpool and Watford have matched Chelsea's impressive start, with champions Manchester City two points behind having drawn with Wolves last month.
But Sarri does not see his side battling for the title at the end of the season, instead thinking Liverpool and City will be the two teams vying for silverware.
"At the moment, I can only see City or Liverpool [winning it], at the moment," he told a media conference.
"We need another step to be at the same level. I think [it is too soon], but I hope not!
"It is very difficult to recover 30 points in one season, very difficult.
"We need to improve. My feeling is that we are not a very solid team in the defensive phase, we need to improve and we can, my feeling during the training is that this team can improve."
We’re back in action tomorrow! https://t.co/aMNODPr76w— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 14, 2018
Chelsea could welcome Cesc Fabregas back to the matchday squad against Cardiff City on Saturday, the Spanish midfielder having missed the start of the campaign with a knee injury.
Fabregas is likely to only be fit for a place on the bench, though, and could replace Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who picked up an injury on international duty with England.
"The best news is Fabregas, he is very well, he was training with the team during the week so now he only has to improve his physical condition," added the Italian. "I think in one week he will be ready to play.
"I think that at the moment Fabregas can be on the bench, but I want to speak to him, I think maybe it is better to have two days of training.
"Yesterday [Thursday] there were problems with fever for Emerson [Palmieri] and [Davide] Zappacosta, and a little problem after the match with the national team for Loftus-Cheek.
"I don't know the situation, I have to speak to the doctor, I don't know if he will be able to play."
14 de noviembre 2018
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|Ranieri honoured to lead ´exceptional´ Fulham squad|
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13 de noviembre 2018
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|Rams v Chiefs moved to LA due to Mexico City field conditions|
|Skriniar discussing new Inter contract, confirms agent|
|Former Barcelona boss Martino named MLS Coach of the Year|
|Bell fails to report to Steelers, will sit out rest of season|
|Federer back on track after dismal Thiem display|
|Udinese appoint Nicola after sacking Velazquez|
|Monaco deny they broke rules regarding youth recruitment|
|Del Bosque, Zidane, Lopetegui - The former Castilla coaches Solari follows into Real Madrid hot seat|
|Ozil rejected ´crazy offers´ from Asia, reveals agent|
|Real Madrid appoint Solari on permanent basis|
|LeVert avoids need for surgery, should return this season|
|Neuer confident despite concerns over Bayern Munich form|
|All I ever wanted to do is win, says Sixers signing Butler|
|Pogba: Coming home to United was the best feeling ever|
|Watson among four signing new Bath deals|
|Susanna Dinnage to replace Scudamore as Premier League chief executive|
|Murray commits to Brighton until 2020|
|Rooney rejected chance of pre-World Cup farewell|
|Impressive Anderson thrashes Nishikori|
|Ozil´s Germany absence a ´pity´, says Sane|
|Rooney: I´ll finish my career in the US|
|McIlroy unsure of 2019 European Tour membership|
|Australian Open dismisses concerns of Federer scheduling bias|
|Hue Jackson joins Bengals staff as ´special assistant´|
|Real Madrid confirm Reguilon injury|
|Higuain handed two-match ban for Juve meltdown|
|Kruis ruled out for England as Jones calls up uncapped quartet|
|A year on from Italy failure, Ventura leaves Chievo after four games|
|Bairstow misses out as unchanged England promote Stokes|
|Recalled Alba denies Luis Enrique bust-up|
|´Unhappy´ Christensen won´t push for Chelsea exit|
|Nadal to make Abu Dhabi comeback in December|
|Taijul helps Bangladesh tighten their grip despite Taylor ton|
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|Trippier out of England squad with groin injury|