Willian: Chelsea's title defence 'difficult'


File: Chelsea's players hold the English Premier League trophy, as they celebrate their league title win.

JOHANNESBURG - Champions Chelsea face a stiff challenge to defend their Premier League title from in-form leaders Manchester City but will fight till the end in the race, midfielder Willian has said.

City have won 10 of their opening 11 league games and sit at the top of the table, nine points ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea.

"It&39;s difficult," Willian told BBC&39;s Football Focus. "Manchester City are playing very well but I think we can fight for the title until the end."

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Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are second and third respectively, a point ahead of Antonio Conte&39;s men.

"It is difficult to play when you were champion last season and to fight for the title again as every team wants to win against Chelsea," added the Brazil international.

Chelsea travel to West Bromwich Albion, who are 16th in the league, on Saturday.