Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says he is surprised his Champions League-winning side are considered favourites to win the Premier League this season.
Chelsea beat Manchester City in the Champions League final in May, but finished 19 points adrift of the Premier League champions in the table.
“When you come fourth, you are not the favourites in the next season,” said Tuchel.
“That surprises me because everybody who can read saw that we came fourth, and we needed some help on the last match day from our rivals to arrive in fourth place and make it in the end a successful season.
“We let Liverpool pass us in the last match and we have a big gap to close to Manchester United and Manchester City.
“When I see the transfer market and the activity from City and United, I don’t see why they should be any worse than last season.”
Manchester City set a new British transfer record when they signed England midfielder Jack Grealish for £100m earlier this month and Manchester United spent £73m on England winger Jadon Sancho.
On Thursday, Chelsea spent a club-record £97.5m on re-signing Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan.
Tuchel anticipates the Belgium striker will have a “huge impact” on his return to Stamford Bridge after seven years away.
Lukaku returns to English football after helping Inter end an 11-year wait for a 19th scudetto, playing a central role in the title win with 24 goals and 11 assists in 36 league appearances.
“He has the power, the physique to help us, he has the experience, the personality to have a huge impact,” Tuchel, 47, said.
“He is at the same time a humble guy, and a true team player player and he cares about Chelsea.”
Chelsea started their 2021-22 campaign by beating Villarreal in a penalty shootout to lift the Uefa Super Cup on Wednesday, and face Crystal Palace in their Premier League season opener on Saturday.