Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan believes the team's home defeat to Aston Villa shows that the Premier League is improving.
United had the chance to go level with Chelsea after the league leaders were held to a surprise 3-3 draw at home to Everton, but a goal from Gabriel Agbonlahor was enough to give Villa all three points at Old Trafford.
There were further surprise results on Saturday as Bolton secured a draw with Manchester City and Tottenham were beaten by Wolves, and Phelan feels there is evidence that the quality of the competition has gone up a notch this season.
"The competition is of a higher standard this year," he said. "There are a lot more good players about and plenty of good teams who are very well organised.
"There is nothing easy and every team will drop points. Nobody likes to lose but last week we were five points behind Chelsea, now it is three, so in that respect we are a little bit better off."