Is this the league no one wants to win?

Here is what some of the managers said when they were asked if they could claim the English Premier League title:

Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)

"Being top on goal difference doesn't make a big difference. Everybody wants to predict who will win it at halfway and that is unfortunately, even for the most intelligent people, impossible. We have a difficult programme and we have to focus on ourselves more than we have to look at who will be our main threat. City are the favourites still because they might have the most glamorous potential and they are not far behind."

Claudio Ranieri (Leicester City)

"What we are doing is very, very good, but the other teams have built to win. How much money have they spent? We are building our foundation and slowly, slowly, we want to fight against these big teams. We want to build and achieve this top level.

Our job is to win the next match, then the next match and after that, the next match.

The other teams have to win the title. We have to fight for the next match."

Manuel Pellegrini (Manchester City)

"We are in a good position. The best position is always to be first in the table, but I think this is a special season in the Premier League. I hope we are going to complete a very good second part of the season."

Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham Hotspur)

"It is a very important thing that our supporters believe in the team and us and that we can achieve good things. This is the first step to try and win some titles."

Louis van Gaal (Manchester United)

"We want to be, at the end of the season, at the top of the league, not in the middle of the league. But to do that, we have to win. We have to get points (quickly), otherwise the gap is too big."

Juergen Klopp (Liverpool)

"I didn't say before that we are title contenders, why should I explain now why we are not? It's really not my thing to talk about."

Quique Flores (Watford)

"No, as that's a dream. We have a feeling we can be competitive against every single team. We can't lose our perspective. We have a lot of reasons to be happy. It's important to be ambitious but also be realistic. Manchester City and Arsenal are the favourites and the ones to beat."

Slaven Bilic (West Ham)

"It is all psychological. It comes down to a club's mentality, which takes time to change.

Now we'll never say, 'We have a chance to win the league this year.' Whereas for Liverpool, it would be normal for them to say, 'Yeah, but we are only nine points off.' It is all here, in your head. And it takes time to change that."

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2016, with the headline 'Is this the league no one wants to win?'. Print Edition | Subscribe