Rafa Benitez is confident that Chelsea will be able to put pressure on the two Manchester clubs and launch a genuine challenge for the Premier League crown.
The Spanish boss is yet to win over the Chelsea faithful but has managed to secure two consecutive wins with the Blues managing to score nine goals and concede just two.
Their 3-1 win over Sunderland came on the back of a 6-1 thrashing of Nordsjaeland in the Champions League, and despite exiting the tournament they remain in third place in the Premier League.
Still 10 points behind Manchester United, and four behind Roberto Mancini's City, Benitez believes there is still plenty to play for and that this Chelsea side can still look to win another Premier League title.
"I think those odds [on Chelsea winning the title] will be reduced now," said Benitez, as quoted in the Independent. "I knew about the quality of the team but obviously we needed to improve the balance. In the last two games the team have shown the character. If we play at this level and at this intensity we will win games in a row and hopefully we will be there.
"You have to remember last year in January everyone was saying that Manchester City would win the title easily, and yet at the end on the last day they could have lost it and had to score in the last minute to win it."
Benitez will be hoping that Fernando Torres can continue his good run in front of goal after scoring his fourth in just two games, and the Spaniard has admitted that Chelsea have changed their style since the arrival of former Liverpool manager.
"We are playing a bit differently now. We do not pass the ball as much as we did in the final third and we play a bit more direct," said Torres.
Benitez will now have the chance to win his first piece of silverware with the west London club after they travelled to Tokyo to take part in the Club World Cup.
"Now we have a trophy to win and we will try to win it," continued Benitez. "For a top side like Chelsea, every trophy is an opportunity.
"You have just two or three training sessions before games and you cannot improve everything that you want. But we will have more time in Japan, three days in the hotel. We can talk, we can analyse more things and little by little they will get to the level at which we want to see them.
"I have some reports from friends and from scouts on the other teams but I said I would look at them after Sunderland. I think I can read a lot of that on the plane. In Europe we don't normally appreciate this tournament but in South America and the other continents it is massive. They realise the best teams in Europe and America are there. I know from experience of playing against Sao Paolo that this will be massive for them."
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