Juan Mata has warned his Chelsea teammates that competition for the Premier League title is as strong as ever this season, and named Arsenal and Liverpool among the contenders fighting for the domestic trophy, reports the Daily Star.
The Spain international midfielder posted on his blog in the aftermath of the Blues' 1-1 draw with Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Saturday, with attention now quickly turning to this week's Champions League encounter with Steaua Bucharest.
Mata has travelled with the Chelsea squad for Tuesday's clash in Romania, and will be hoping he has done enough to convince Jose Mourinho to select him from the start, following an impressive substitute appearance against Spurs.
"It’s not a bad result being White Hart Lane, yet I felt we could have won the match, especially with the team’s momentum in the second half," he reflected.
"[But] After Fernando was sent off, the last few minutes were tough for us."
The draw meant Arsenal went clear at the top of the table following their 2-1 victory over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, though Arsene Wenger was quick to play down talk of the Gunners' title tilt.
Meanwhile, Liverpool got back to winning ways with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, meaning Brendan Rodgers's side have won four, drawn one, and lost just one of their opening six games, after last weekend's surprise 1-0 defeat at the hands of Southampton at Anfield.
After their respective wins, Mata talked up both Liverpool and Arsenal's chances of mounting a serious title challenge this year.
"We must keep fighting because there are other teams that seem to be very strong now, such as Arsenal or Liverpool, although this is just the beginning," added the 25-year-old.