Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has taken a swipe at Premier League rivals Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur by claiming that neither club should be regarded as genuine title contenders this season, reports the London Metro.
The Chilean coach admits that the 2013/14 campaign is likely to be the most tightly-contested race for some time, but believes when it comes to the business end of the season, it will be a four-way fight between themselves, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers might challenge Pellegrini's stance, particularly given the fact that Liverpool are currently second in the table - four points clear of eighth place City - and boast the most feared forward line in the division, with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.
Spurs also sit one point and one place above the Citizens, and although Andre Villas-Boas's side have failed to find their best form at White Hart Lane this season, they could argue that they have a strong enough squad to mount a serious title challenge, following a big turnover in personnel, sanctioned by the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid during the summer.
Manchester City have made a modest start to the current campaign themselves, and although they have an impressive record at the Etihad Stadium, Pellegrini's side have already been beaten four times on the road.
They will have to improve their away form if they are serious about winning the title, but the former Malaga boss seems to think they will be one of the four teams fighting for top spot come May.
"The Premier League is very close this year," Pellegrini explained. "There are six clubs challenging, with very little difference between one team and another.
"We have a lot of points to fight for, and I think at the end it will be between Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City."