Ashley Cole has warned Manchester United to 'watch out' as Chelsea are snapping at their heels - despite still being in first gear.
United missed the chance to extend their lead at the top of the Barclays Premiership to six points with yesterday's 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
And England left-back Cole believes Sir Alex Ferguson should be concerned as Chelsea will race ahead once they start playing to their full potential.
'We we are not performing anywhere as well as I know we can,' he told the London Evening Standard.
'I have faced Chelsea in past years and they have been brilliant. We are not hitting that peak and when we do - watch out.
'It's still early but you don't want to go six points behind a great team like Manchester United.
'They're playing well and hopefully that is an advantage for us. We're not playing well and are only three points behind. This is the period when the title is won.
'We have qualified for the Champions League (knockout phase) and we have to pick up our Premiership form after a good second-half performance at Old Trafford.'
Ricardo Carvalho, whose second-half header cancelled out Louis Saha's opener, is convinced Chelsea will defend their Premiership crown for a second time.
'We are the best team in England and we are going to prove it. We will be champions,' he said.
'The goal I scored was important because it gave us a draw and prevented United from increasing the gap. I didn't train all week and am very satisfied because manager Jose Mourinho trusted me.'