Avram Grant believes Antonio Conte arrived at Chelsea at the perfect time, while insisting Jose Mourinho is neither a genius nor useless.
Conte took over at Stamford Bridge ahead of this season and has helped the club to an eight-point lead atop the Premier League table.
The Italian is at the helm after a poor 2015-16 campaign for Chelsea, who parted ways with Mourinho during that season.
Grant, in charge at the club in 2007-08, said the timing was ideal for former Juventus coach Conte.
"Conte came at the right time. The players were ready for the change and wanted the change," the Ghana boss said via The Guardian.
"With a lot of respect to Jose, I didn't like that the media said he was the king of the world and a genius — he was not — and he's not so useless like they are saying about him now.
"He's a good coach, with problems like any other person."
Conte arrived at Chelsea having led Juve to three consecutive Serie A titles from 2011-14.
Grant felt the 47-year-old made an early mistake in England, but corrected quickly enough after a poor start.
"I think he started to please the supporters. He played 4-4-2 and he'd never played like this in his life — I've followed his whole career," he said.
"He played three at the back with Juventus and had very good results in Italy. He came to Chelsea and changed. Don't change your personality.
"There are coaches who can play different systems, like Alex Ferguson. Conte, [Arsene] Wenger, their style of play will not change and it's not good for them to change because maybe they don't know another system.
"I think the best thing to happen to Chelsea was that they lost 3-0 to Arsenal — then he came back to his roots and they play a system that is also good for their players."