Ahead of Manchester City's Premier League trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday (November 12), manager Pep Guardiola hailed Chelsea as a quality team.
Coming off a midweek 3-0 UEFA Champions League win over Young Boys at home - which sealed the holders' place in the knockouts - Guardiola's side travel to London to take on the resurgent Blues.
New manager Mauricio Pochettino has overseen an expensive overhaul in the summer, splurging nearly £500 million. The results weren't immediately forthcoming, but the young Blues squad is beginning to come together in recent weeks.
Pochettino's side are coming off a resounding come-from-behind 4-1 league win at Tottenham Hotspur and are tenth in the standings. Guardiola acknowledged the Blues' resurgence, hailing them for their quality across the park.
"They're getting better, new club, new players," the Spaniard said in his press conference (as per MEN). "Sooner than later, they'll be a top contender, the quality in all departments is there.
City lead the pack with 27 points after 11 games, 12 ahead of Chelsea.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola provides Kevin De Bruyne update ahead of Chelsea clash
Manchester City manager also talked about his injured star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne - who has been out of action since August - during the aforementioned press conference.
De Bruyne - the crown jewel in City's star-studded team - injured his hamstring at the start of the season and is expected to be on the sidelines for a few months. While Guardiola didn't specify the exact timeline for his return ahead of the Chelsea game, the Spaniard said that De Bruyne is making gradual progress:
"I spoke to him two days ago, and he feels really good, but he isn't training with us, not running much," said Guardiola (as per City's website). I think, I don't know, these kind of injuries, it's better not to put pressure.
"When he feels good and the doctors are confident, we can take the next step. You don't want to go too early and have to go back again. Kevin was a tough injury, surgery, so (we go) step by step."
De Bruyne - a five-time Premier League winner - has 96 goals and 153 assists in 358 games across competitions with the Cityzens.