Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson have admitted they cannot match Chelsea's standard this season.
The rivals saw their sides draw 0-0 at Highbury on Tuesday, leaving leaders Chelsea 13 points clear of United.
After an unusually open game, Wenger said: "The players were less nervous because we are not going for the title - we cannot compete with Chelsea.
His counterpart Ferguson agreed: "Chelsea's consistency is beyond us."
It is remarkable that the men in charge of the two sides, which have dominated the Premiership since its conception, should make such candid admissions at this stage of the season.
And it shows just how far Chelsea have come - and how far behind them are the rest of the country - since the arrival of first Roman Abramovich and then Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea's lead over United is substantial but their advantage over Arsenal stands at a massive 24 points - and Wenger admits that is too much to make up.
Instead, he seemed reasonably satisfied to have avoided defeat against United.
"I am not speaking about the title but I feel this result was a positive one for us," he said.
"If you look at Chelsea, they have a mature team. All their players are between 25 and 30. They have power and a lot of self-belief.
"We have a young team and it is important for us not to lose big games."
And Ferguson, too, has adjusted his goal for the season - also claiming youth has harmed their title chances this term.
He said: "Eventually we hope to reach Chelsea's level. We have a young team who will get better.
"You can see what is going to happen to us over the next two or three years and in the meantime we just keep going.
"We want to be the nearest team to Chelsea, just in case they collapse. You never know what might happen."