Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri has stated that Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri has been an inspiration to him after studying his tactics over 20 years ago.
According to Sarri, he met Ranieri for the first time when he visited the Premier League-winning manager while he was in charge of Fiorentina between 1993-1997.
Ranieri returned the favour by visiting Sarri at Chelsea’s training ground earlier this season, before the former Leicester boss returned to management in England with Fulham after a spell at Nantes.
“Friend is a big word but I like him (Ranieri) very much. I visited him in Florence 20 years ago. I think he doesn’t remember this meeting but it was very important for me,” Sarri said.
Claudio Ranieri returns to his former club Chelsea this Sunday with west London rivals Fulham.
“He visited us around 40 days ago to see our training. He spoke to me and Gianfranco (Zola).
Asked whether Ranieri has been an inspiration, Sarri replied;
“Of course. I think he is very able in the defensive phase and very dangerous on the counter-attack, like with Leicester. So it will not be easy to play a Ranieri team.