Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri still believes that Manchester City and Liverpool are favourites for the Premier League title despite The Blues’ impressive start to the campaign.
Goals from Eden Hazard, Ross Barkley and Alvaro Morata saw Chelsea safely past the Saints on Sunday in a commanding 3-0 win on the road.
The Blues are still unbeaten in all competitions under Sarri this season.
The win saw Chelsea moved from third to second position in the table behind defending champions Manchester City.
But according to Sarri, it is still far too early to talk of Chelsea as title hopefuls.
“It’s the same that I thought one week ago. I think Manchester City and Liverpool are a step forward,” Sarri told reporters.
“Now we are trying to cover the gap and we are working on that. I think it will be very difficult to cover so large a gap in one season.
“I think sometimes, not always, we can do better, they had two or three opportunities. We need to be in control of the matches.”
The Italian also had glowing praise for Ross Barkley, who has gone from strength to strength under his watchful eye this season.
Barkley was recalled to England’s squad for the upcoming UEFA Nations League fixtures against Croatia and Spain and celebrated by scoring his first Chelsea goal on Sunday.
The former Everton man also claimed an assist, setting up Hazard for the opener, and Sarri – who has shown faith in Barkley since taking over at Stamford Bridge – insists the former Everton midfielder has the potential to become a key figure for Chelsea and England.
“Potentially he is a great player,” Sarri stated.
“He has quality, very important ones in the physical and technical [aspects], now he is improving in the tactical point of view.
“He can be a very important player in England and for the national team.”