Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva is predicting this season’s Premier League champions will need fewer points but is expecting an even tighter title race.
Last season, Liverpool won their first title in 30 years with 99 points to take the crown off City after back-to-back seasons when Pep Guardiola's side reached 100 and then 98 points.
But the impact of Covid-19 shortened the pre-season while last term's shutdown has created a demanding schedule where the top sides will be regularly playing twice a week with squads set to be stretched.
“In the last few seasons, we saw that to become champions you needed to reach close to 100 points, I think the situation this season is going to be different,” Silva said.
“Because a lot of players didn't have any rest during the summer, I think the competition is going to be more balanced, all the game.”
Both City and Liverpool have dropped five points already this season and Silva believes that their rivals have brought in some quality signings.
Everton top the Premier League having added former Real Madrid star James Rodriguez and Napoli’s Allan while Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea also invested in their squads.
“I think all the Premier League teams are stronger this season and that's good for the competition,” the Portugal international said.
“It's good to know that all the matches are going to be difficult now, no matter which teams are involved.
“We'll have to work even harder this season to beat everybody. I think the Premier League became even more competitive this season. All the teams made great signings and strengthened their squads.”
After winning just one of their opening three games without keeping a clean sheet, the 1-0 victory over Arsenal was a much-needed three points for Pep Guardiola’s side.
But Silva warns that they have no time to relax with the Champions League campaign kicking off on Wednesday against Porto.
“Congratulations to my team-mates because they were three points that were very important for us,” he added.
“We don't have time to celebrate and to rest, we need to keep working, because we have another important match on Wednesday in the Champions League, and then another one next weekend, and so on.
“It's going to be tough, but we will be ready for every challenge.”
Silva was used as a box-to-box midfielder against the Gunners and, with Guardiola having to shift around players after illness and injury in the early weeks of the campaign, he has happy to be flexible.
“Under Pep Guardiola, I have played everywhere, on the right, on the left, false nine, attacking midfielder, defensive midfielder - I'm used to changing positions and I adapt to what the team needs from me,” he said.
“I’m happy to help the team wherever the coach thinks I'm better to play and contribute.
“After the defeat against Leicester City and the draw against Leeds United, we wanted to win the three points, we knew we were facing a great team, a team that has made great signings during the summer, with a great manager and great players as well.
“Winning the three points was essential for us to restart the Premier League on the right foot.”