Roberto Mancini still feels Chelsea will put up a fierce fight to keep their Premier League title.
The Blues had won just once in nine games prior to last weekend's victory over Blackburn.
From a position of superiority at the top of the table, Chelsea are now fourth, seven points adrift of leaders Manchester United and Mancini's City, who are scrapping it out at the summit now.
Yet Mancini, who claimed earlier this season that Chelsea would retain their crown 'easily', does not feel Carlo Ancelotti's men can be written off just yet.
'Chelsea could come back again,' said the Italian ahead of City's trip to Aston Villa on Saturday evening.
'Maybe at this moment Manchester United are better than them but their problem has been so many players injured.
'When they get them all back they have a good team.'
Mancini is expected to make changes for the encounter with Gerard Houllier's men, who have been bolstered by the big-money arrival of Darren Bent since they were badly outplayed at Eastlands last month.
That game featured quite possibly the hat-trick that expended the least ever amount of energy from Mario Balotelli, who added a close-range tap-in to two penalties that involved a walk-up before he fired past Brad Friedel.
Unfortunately for Balotelli, he has not played since and is now in the United States having treatment on a knee injury.
Back to business: Chelsea's win over Blackburn was their first Premier League victory in three games
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