Manchester United are the strongest team in the Premier League on a player-by-player basis, according to Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri.
Chelsea welcome United to Stamford Bridge on Saturday as Premier League action returns following the international break, and Sarri believes his side face a daunting task.
The Italian's comments may come as a surprise to some given the Red Devils sit eighth in the table and trail unbeaten trio Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea by seven points.
So indifferent has United's form been in 2018-19 there had even been speculation Jose Mourinho could lose his job at Old Trafford, but Sarri is convinced this weekend's opponents are the best in the division.
"They are a strong team, maybe that player by player they are the best in Premier League," Sarri told a media conference.
"At the moment City is better as a team, but player-by-player they [United] are very strong."
Sarri also had praise for his counterpart Mourinho, who will make another return to the ground where he won three Premier League titles across two separate spells.
He added: "We are talking about a coach that has won everything, everywhere, so I think you have to respect him.
"I think that I have to respect him, and I think you [the media] all have to respect him.
"I think that he is a very good coach, one of the best in the world."
Meanwhile, Mourinho insists returning to Stamford Bridge will not be different to any other game in United's schedule, but he concedes he will not celebrate should his team cause an upset.
"For me it's another game," said the United boss. "Would I celebrate like crazy my team's goal or victory at Stamford Bridge? I don't think so.
"I think I'd try to control myself and respect the stadium and the supporters that were my supporters and what was my stadium for many years.
"To do that [celebrate crazily] it would [mean] I completely lost my emotional control, which isn't easy. I want to do well for my team, my supporters. I'm 100 per cent Manchester United, there's no space for anything else but respect for the stadium and people who were my friends."
Chelsea head into Saturday's clash only trailing leaders City on goal difference after eight matches, but Sarri still expects them to improve in the coming weeks.
"I'm very happy with the results but we need to improve, and we can improve because we have had no time to work [together]," he said.
"I had eight players at the beginning of August, then we play every three days, so it is difficult to work, to improve the team, to improve the players.
"In the future we can improve, and we need to. To improve the performance, and in the defensive phase, we're giving too many opportunities to the opponents."
|Capitals give up fourth hat-trick in five games|
|Durant leaving Warriors would be ´great´ for NBA, says McGrady|
|McEnroe: Serena choked in Australian Open loss|
|De Jong an ´important addition´ at Barca, says Valverde|
|´Better outcome than we originally feared´ – Agent on Anthony Davis injury|
|Pacers sweating on Oladipo injury after Indiana star leaves on stretcher|
|De Jong: I spoke to PSG and City before signing for Barca|
|Guardiola wants finals habit at Man City|
|Lakers star LeBron won´t face Timberwolves|
|Valverde doesn´t regret resting Messi despite Barcelona loss|
|In my heart and in my prayers - Ben Yedder pays tribute to missing Sala|
|Real Madrid reclaim world´s highest-earning club title from Manchester United|
|Messi absence no excuse for Barcelona loss, says Suarez|
|Humble Higuain excited by Sarri reunion|
|He must not come and cry after – Goncalves unapologetic over Neymar injury|
|Serie A record-breaker under Sarri - the Opta numbers behind new Chelsea striker Higuain|
|PSG boss Tuchel ´worried´ after Neymar sent to hospital with another foot injury|
|Coles commits to New Zealand and Hurricanes until 2021|
|Guardiola praises City mentality on ´dangerous´ Burton pitch|
|England won ´attritional´ battle, says Anderson after latest landmark|
|AEK, Brose Bamberg secure last-16 spots|
|Sevilla 2 Barcelona 0: Resting Messi backfires for Copa del Rey holders|
|Sarri: Chelsea players agree with me on motivation comments|
|Morata asked to leave Chelsea a month ago, says Sarri|
|Paris Saint-Germain 2 Strasbourg 0: Neymar suffers injury scare in Coupe victory|
|Anderson´s four-wicket haul rocks Windies|
|Burton Albion 0 Manchester City 1 (0-10 agg): Holders coast through to clinch Wembley return|
|PSG´s Neymar hobbles off in Coupe de France clash|
|De Ligt bored of Ajax departure rumours|
|Piatek completes AC Milan move after Higuain exit|
|Super Bowl LIII: Rams RBs v Patriots RBs|
|Chelsea seal Higuain loan|
|Ismaily kicked out of CAF Champions League after fans throw stones, bottles|
|England star Itoje pens new Saracens deal|
|Palace keeper Hennessey charged over Instagram post|
|Chelsea warn supporters over anti-Semitic chanting ahead of Tottenham EFL Cup tie|
|Joshua primed to make call on next opponent|
|Super Bowl LIII: Brady v Goff|
|Sala search suspended as Cardiff chairman confirms club wanted different travel arrangements|
|Cruyff, Koeman, Kluivert - De Jong following pantheon of Dutch Barca greats|
|Sarfraz apologises for comments picked up by stump mic|
|Djokovic: Pouille deserves top-10 spot|
|Hazard must be more demanding if he wants to leave Chelsea, says Ballack|
|Celtics´ Kyrie Irving to sit out Cavs game with flu-like symptoms|
|Barcelona seal €86m De Jong deal|
|Vietnam v Japan: Moriyasu happy to keep doing just enough|
|Hendricks, De Kock and Steyn join up with Proteas squad|
|Lorenzo excited for ´new level´ at Repsol Honda|
|Fernando replaces injured Pradeep in Sri Lanka squad|
|China v Iran: Queiroz wants to exorcise 2015 quarter-final|
|Balotelli joins Marseille until the end of the season|
|Emery gives Monchi ringing endorsement amid Arsenal sporting director links|
|Larry Fitzgerald returning to Cardinals on one-year deal|
|Watson absence ´an opportunity´ for Scotland hopefuls, says Townsend|
|Pochettino open to new signings but Janssen to remain a Spurs outcast|
|´No trace´ of aircraft so far in Sala search|
|Pochettino will not judge Sarri for criticising Chelsea players|
|From front row to four in a row - Best takes on Farrell at Connect 4|
|Hazard an individual, not a leader - Sarri urges Chelsea star to do more|
|Broad left out of England team for first Test|
|Higuain set to sign for Chelsea but won´t face Tottenham – Sarri|
|McGillvary injury blow for Giants|
|Solari praises Marcelo amid exit rumours|
|A-League Review: Joy and pain for De Jong as Sydney close gap|
|Halfpenny, Davies and Williams set to miss France clash|
|India to rest Kohli from back end of New Zealand tour|
|The hand is good - Farrell expects to be fit to face Ireland|
|Martinez leaves Arsenal for Reading loan|
|Beckham becomes Salford City shareholder|
|Maradona hopes Sala will be found alive|